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Astr112 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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Sombrero Galaxy, Maurice Wright

Sombrero Galaxy

Discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781, the sombrero galaxy is type Sa-Sb. The brightness of the galaxy is a magnitude of 8, is roughly 50,000 kly across and around 28 million light years from earth. By reading the amount of X-ray emission, scientists suggest there is material falling into the core where there lies a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole. The bright bulge is outlined by a rather thick dark rim. This rim is the result of dust obscurring the view of the galaxy. The sombrero galaxy lies on the edge of the Virgo cluster of galaxies and is a very rich cluster with hundreds of galaxies. HIstorically, when the galaxy was found, it was found moving away from us at 700 miles per second. This was one of the early clues that our universe is expanding. It is truly a unique galaxy.

The Sombrero galaxy got its name from its bright bulge and well defined spiral arms. The two resemble a sombrero when looked at from far away. The image doesn't bring out a lot of color because the bulge is mostly white and the outside disc looks a golden brown. The bright light in the bulge is due to the massive amounts of stars. According to my claculations, the linear size of the galaxy is closer to 42000 light years which is still an imppresive size. The odd shape of the galaxy and its diversity only makes the galaxy that more interesting to most viewers. The Sombrero is not visible to the naked eye but when a telescope is used, it is easy to see the beauty of Gods creation.


Right Ascension (J2000) 12:40:16
Declination (J2000) -11:39:14
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds in BVRC
Date observed

February 4, 2005 (C)
January 4, 2005 (BVR)