October 2014
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  
News for Norther Colorado and the world

Friday, October 31, 2014

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. Reasons for the Sombrero’s hat-like appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on.

 

sombrero hst 3215 670x375 Astronomy Picture of the Day
The Sombrero Galaxy from Hubble
Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScIAURA)

Explanation: What’s going on in the center of this spiral galaxy? Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. Reasons for the Sombrero’s hat-like appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on. Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge. Close inspection of the bulge in the above photograph shows many points of light that are actually globular clustersM104‘s spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don’t yet fully understand. The very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and is thought to house a large black hole. Fifty million-year-old light from the Sombrero Galaxy can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of Virgo.

 

Visit the NASA/JPL website to view more Astronomy Pictures of the Day

Print This Post Print This Post