Sombrero Galaxy, c 2005.

Sombrero Galaxy, c 2005.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm


The Sombrero Galaxy is so-called because of the Sombrero's 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 shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters. The spectacular dust rings harbour many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don't yet fully understand. The very centre of the Sombrero 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.

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© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society

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