Patrick Treuthardt

Spotting a galaxy, and other discoveries that were total accidents

Astrophysicist Patrick Treuthardt wasn’t looking for a rare galaxy. But while gazing at a cluster of galaxies, he happened to notice a small, unobtrusive speck. The speck turned out to be PGC 10000714, an elliptical galaxy surrounded by two rings of stars. It’s one of the rarest types of galaxies in the universe and Treuthardt found it by chance. 

A lot of major scientific discoveries can happen by accident, failure or just plain dumb luck.