Messier 104

29. Messier 104


Messier 104  RA: 12h 40.0'  Dec: -11 37'   Virgo (Vir)

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The Sombrero Galaxy (also known as Messier Object 104, M104 or NGC 4594) is a lenticular galaxy in the constellation borders of Virgo and Corvus, being about 9.55 megaparsecs (31.1 million light-years) from Earth. The galaxy has a diameter of approximately 15 kiloparsecs (49,000 light-years), 30% the size of the Milky Way. It has a bright nucleus, an unusually large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk. The dark dust lane and the bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero hat. Astronomers initially thought that the halo was small and light, indicative of a spiral galaxy, but the Spitzer Space Telescope found that the dust ring around the Sombrero Galaxy is larger and more massive than previously thought, indicative of a giant elliptical galaxy. The galaxy has an apparent magnitude of +8.0, making it easily visible with amateur telescopes, and it is considered by some authors to be the galaxy with the highest absolute magnitude within a radius of 10 megaparsecs of the Milky Way. Its large bulge, its central supermassive black hole, and its dust lane all attract the attention of professional astronomers.



 

Image Information

Location Fingal ON
Date May 30 2011
Optics Celestron C9.25
Filters f6.3 reducer/flattener
Mount Celestron CGE
Camera Canon Hutech 500DH
ISO 800
Subexposures 10
Exposure Length 300
Guider WO Zenithstar 66SD/ST-4
 

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All images copyright © 2006-2020, Rick Saunders
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