An Oxford graduate student has discovered what is thought to be the world’s first heart-shaped galaxy.

Georgia Barrie, who specialises in the formation of ring galaxies, spotted the unusual galaxy, which had previously been classified by users of an online survey tool as ‘ring shaped’.

Barrie estimates that the galaxy is 600 million light years away from earth, but has not yet established how it has formed.

While there have been suggestions that it could have resulted from the collision of two galaxies, Barrie explained that investigating the formation of galaxies is a complex process, and will require extensive analysis of telescope information.