NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sombrero galaxy (M104), combined infrared (IR) and optical image. This spiral galaxy is seen nearly edge-on from Earth. At IR wavelengths, the thick band of dust encircling the galaxy glows brightly. The central bulge of the nucleus is seen in blue. The Sombrero galaxy is around 50,000 light years in diameter, less than half the width of our Milky Way galaxy. It lies around 28 million light years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. The optical image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in June 2003, while the IR images were taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope in June 2004 and January 2005 as part of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey.
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