The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy

Credits: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)IDL TIFF file

Sombrero Galaxy (also called Messier Object 104, M104, or NGC 4594) is a spiral galaxy that lies within the constellations of Virgo and Corvus which is about 9.55 megaparsecs (31.1 million light-years) in size from our galaxy, which is located within the supercluster. 

Its diameter is about 15 Kiloparsecs (49,000 light-years), three-tenths of the size that of the Milky Way. It is bright with a bright nucleus. It also has an extremely large central bulge and a large dust lane within the outer disc, which is seen from an almost edge-on. Its dark dust lane as well as the bulge gives it the appearance like the appearance of a sombrero hat. The halo was believed to be tiny and light. However, it was discovered by the Spitzer Space Telescope that the dust ring was much larger than believed, indicating the existence of a massive elliptical galaxy. The galaxy has an apparent brightness of +8.0 and is easily accessible to amateur telescopes and it is believed by some researchers to be the largest galaxy in absolute magnitude with 10 megaparsecs of the radius within the Milky Way. The galaxy’s bulge, supermassive central black hole, and dust lane draw the interest of professional Astronomers around the world.

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