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M104, The Sombrero Galaxy

M104, The Sombrero Galaxy

C009/3684

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Credit

GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERARD LODRIGUSS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

M104, the Sombrero Galaxy, is a type Sa spiral galaxy seen nearly edge-on with distinctive dust lane that bisects the galaxy. The Sombrero is located in the constellation of Virgo, just next to the boundary line with the constellation of Corvus. Shining at about 9th magnitude visually, it has an apparent size of about 8.6 x 4.2 arc minutes, which corresponds to about 50,000 light years in diameter at a distance of 30 million light years away. It has been discovered that M104 contains a super massive black hole at its center, with a mass of about 1 billion Suns. It is also surrounded by a halo of about 1,000 to 2,000 globular clusters, more than most other galaxies. The Sombrero was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1767. In 1912, V.M. Slipher at Lowell.

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