Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope captures breathtaking Sombrero galaxy

Located 28 million light-years from Earth, it is considered to be one of the most photogenic galaxies in the universe


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Photo: Nasa
Photo: Nasa

Published: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 3:17 PM

The American space agency, Nasa, has shared a striking picture of the Sombrero galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope. The galaxy, located 28 million light-years from Earth, is considered to be one of the most photogenic galaxies in the universe.

According to Nasa, which shared the photo on Instagram, the edges of the Sombrero galaxy appear red while the middle portion of the rings is yellow-green. The centre shines light blue and the core appears white. Other galaxies and stars in the background are seen as dots in the image.

The Sombrero galaxy or Messier 104 (M104) is on the southern edge of the “galaxy-rich” Virgo cluster. It could be captured with the help of two space telescopes of NASA. While the Hubble Space Telescope viewed the galaxy in visible light, the Spitzer Space Telescope captured in infrared in four different microns namely blue, green, orange, and red.

The vibrant galaxy is 50,000 light-years in diameter, around half the size of our galaxy, Milky Way. Sombrero Galaxy got the name due to its resemblance to a broad-brimmed and high-topped Mexican hat floating in space. When seen from Earth, the galaxy is titled nearly edge-on.

According to Nasa, the Sombrero galaxy has a relatively bright magnitude of +8 and is just beyond the limit of the naked eye. It can be easily viewed using small telescopes.

Astronomers believe that the Sombrero galaxy has around 2,000 globular clusters, which is 10 times more than those orbiting the Milky Way. The clusters are said to be between 10 billion to 13 billion years old.

Scientists also believe that there is a black hole billions of times larger than the Sun at the centre of the Sombrero galaxy. X-ray emissions have suggested that “there is material falling into the compact core” where the black hole is located.


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