The Sombrero Galaxy

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Overview The Sombrero Galaxy, also called M104 or NGC 4594, is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 28 million light-years from Earth. It lies south of Virgo Cluster and has a diameter of approximately 50,000 light-years, 30% the size of the Milky Way. It contains about a hundred billion stars. The galaxy obtained its name because of how similar it looks to a sombrero. Fiesta Time "Close inspection of the central bulge shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters. M104 's spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don 't yet fully understand," stated the NASA website Astronomy Picture Of The Day in a July 2013 entry. Examination of the…show more content…
These are nuclear regions where ionized gas is present, but the ions are only weakly ionized (i.e. the atoms are missing relatively few electrons). The source of energy for ionizing the gas in LINERs has been debated extensively. Some LINER nuclei may be powered by hot, young stars found in star formation regions, whereas other LINER nuclei may be powered by active galactic nuclei (highly energetic regions that contain supermassive black holes). Infrared spectroscopy observations have demonstrated that the nucleus of the Sombrero Galaxy is probably devoid of any significant star formation activity. However, a supermassive black hole has been identified in the nucleus, so this active galactic nucleus is probably the energy source that weakly ionizes the gas in the Sombrero…show more content…
Facts: ● The Sombrero Galaxy may not be part of a formal galaxy group, but could be a member of a string of galaxies that extends away from the Virgo Cluster. ● As many as 2,000 globular clusters swarm around the core of the Sombrero Galaxy, and the number could be related to the size of the central bulge. ● The Sombrero has a central supermassive black hole at its heart. Observations of star motions near the black hole suggest it could have the mass of a billion Suns, perhaps the most massive of any black hole found so far at the heart of a galaxy. ● The Sombrero Galaxy is a favorite target for well-equipped amateur astronomers. If you have a good dark-sky sight, it can be spotted through binoculars; those with large telescopes can spot the dust lane. The Sombrero is a spring and early summer observing object half-way between the constellations Virgo and Corvus. ● NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope have been used to study the Sombrero in visible and infrared light. The starbirth regions stand out in infrared wavelengths are are mostly located along the outer rim of the dust ring surrounding the galaxy’s
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