M104 - "Sombrero Galaxy" in Virgo
Imaged by Sam P. and Tom M
The Sombrero Galaxy is a favorite target for well-equipped amateur astronomers. If you have a good dark-sky site, the object can be spotted through binoculars (those with large telescopes can spot the dust lane). This spring and early summer object can be found half-way between the constellations Virgo and Corvus.
|Location of M104 in the Constellation Virgo|
"Close observations of the central bulge display many points of light that are actually around 2000 globular clusters that hover around the core of the galaxy, and the number could be related to the size of the central bulge. M104's spectacular dust rings host many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don't yet fully understand," stated the NASA website Astronomy Picture Of The Day in a July 2013 entry.
Examination of the galaxy in recent years revealed that it had a sort of "split personality," NASA said on another website, showing that is a large elliptical galaxy that has a disk galaxy embedded inside of it. The reason this happened is still poorly understood.
The image to the upper-left was acquired by 6th-grade students at the Plymouth Community Intermediate School located in Massachusetts as part of a class astronomy education project called "The Galaxy Project - What Lies Beyond the Stars?" The image was taken with a 17" telescope remotely in New Mexico with a 5-minute exposure.
Sources: Space.com, Space-Facts.com