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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2010

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Sombrero Galaxy , Sarah Wong

Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy (Messier 104), named after the Mexican hat that it bears resemblance to, is an unbarred spiral galaxy situated south of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The galaxy is 50, 000 light years in diameter and is located at a distance of 28 million light years from Earth. Its main features include a dazzling white bulging center circled by thick lanes of dust. With a magnitude of +8, the Sombrero Galaxy can easily be seen through small telescopes. This stunning galaxy was first discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1767. Charles Messier added it to his list of personal objects (now known as the Messier Catalogue), and it was officially included in 1921.

The Sombrero Galaxy contains approximately 2000 globular clusters that are around 10-13 billion years old. A smaller disk is embedded in the bright core of the galaxy, tilted relative to the large disk. X-ray emission suggests the possibility that material is falling into the core, in which a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides. While the bulging white center of the Sombrero Galaxy is comprised of many old stars, the dust lanes that encircle it are made of newer, younger stars. The angular size of the Sombrero Galaxy in the picture above is 5.371 arcminutes, and its linear size, following approximate measurements based on the above picture, is 44,000 light-years.

References:
NASA. "Sombrero Galaxy." Astronomy Picture of the Day Searchable Archive". <http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070121.html>.

HubbleSite. "Sombrero Galaxy." The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy. <http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire/pr2003028a/>

Right Ascension (J2000) 12:39:59
Declination (J2000) -11:37:22
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x600 seconds in B,V,R,C
Date observed

March 12, 2010 (C)
March 12, 2010 (BVR)

Time '04:59:08'