Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered how big those sparkling stars and galaxies really are? Well, let’s explore one of those fascinating celestial objects together - the Sombrero Galaxy. It’s not just any galaxy, but one that is bigger than our own Milky Way!
The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as Messier Object 104 or NGC 4594, is a strange and peculiar galaxy. It’s located in the constellation borders of Virgo and Corvus. To understand how far away it is, let’s hop on an imaginary spaceship and travel at the speed of light. It would take us a whopping 31.1 million years to reach the Sombrero Galaxy from the Milky Way!
In terms of size, the Sombrero Galaxy is a heavyweight. It has a D25 isophotal diameter of around 94,900 light-years, making it slightly bigger than our own Milky Way, which is about 100,000 light-years across.
The Sombrero Galaxy is not just about size. It has a bright nucleus, a very large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its outer disk. This dust lane and the bulge give it the appearance of a sombrero hat, hence its name. Initially, astronomers thought that this galaxy was similar to a spiral galaxy because of its small and light halo. But, with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope, they found out that the dust ring was larger and more massive than previously thought, indicating that it’s more like a giant elliptical galaxy.
The Sombrero Galaxy is a unique and fascinating celestial object that’s slightly larger than our Milky Way. It’s not just its size that makes it stand out, but also its unique features like the large central bulge and the dust lane that gives it the appearance of a sombrero hat. So the next time you look up at the night sky, remember the incredible and mysterious world of the Sombrero Galaxy.
Be the first to get exclusive offers and the latest news