The Sombrero Galaxy is an edge-on spiral galaxy located 28 million light-years from Earth. It resides in the constellation Virgo within a filamentous complex of galaxies known as the Virgo Supercluster. The Sombrero Galaxy has between 1,200 – 2,000 globular clusters in its halo, more than usual for a galaxy of its luminosity.
A symmetrical dark lane composed of mostly cold dust and molecular hydrogen encapsulates the central bulge of this galaxy. At the center of the galactic disk lies a “low ionization nuclear region” where atoms are weakly ionized by the supermassive black hole that powers M104’s active galactic nucleus.
Composite Image From Several Data Sources
200″ Hale Telescope – Palomar Observatory
Luminance data: Caltech/Palomar Observatory/Paul Gardner
16″ RCOS Telescope – Perez Observatory/New Mexico Skies
Color data: Ryan Hannahoe
Image assembly and processing: Salvatore Grasso
Copyright: Caltech/Palomar Observatory/Paul Gardner, Salvatore Grasso, and Ryan Hannahoe