The Sombrero Galaxy is an unusual looking barred spiral galaxy with a large central bulge. It means that at the central part of the galaxy is a structure that looks like a bar. This bar is made of stars.
It has a bright nucleus, and its spiral’s arms pass through a thick dust lane. The estimated distance of this galaxy from the earth is 29 million light years. It was formally added to the Messier Catalogue in 1921.
Quick Facts: –
- The Sombrero Galaxy has a central supermassive black hole at its heart. It is the largest of any black hole found so far at the heart of a galaxy.
- French astronomer and comet hunter Pierre Mechain is credited with the original discovery of the Sombrero Galaxy back in 1781.
- NASA has studied this galaxy using Spitzer Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope.
- This galaxy is not a part of a formal galaxy group, but could be a member of a string of galaxies extending away from the Virgo Cluster.
- During a dark and clear sky, this galaxy can be seen through ordinary binoculars easily.
- The galaxy is about 30% the size of the Milky Way galaxy and has a very bright nucleus.
- According to NASA, it is actually a very large elliptical galaxy, which has a disk galaxy embedded in it.