The Sombrero Galaxy is an edge-on galaxy located 28 million lightyears away in the Virgo constellation, and with a mass of about 800 billion Suns, is one of the most massive objects in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster (which also contains the famous Markarian’s Chain).
M104, as it is formally known in the famous Messier Catalogue, is nicknamed the Sombrero Galaxy due to its edge-on appearance, which makes it look like the famous broad style of hat.
Like many other edge-on galaxies such as the Needle Galaxy and NGC 891, the spiral structure of the Sombrero Galaxy is hidden from us here on Earth, due to the galaxy’s tilt.
What is visible in images of the Sombrero Galaxy, however, is the thick dust lane bisecting the bright galactic centre.
A Hubble Space Telescope image of the Sombrero Galaxy. Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This dust lane is a region of fierce star formation in the galaxy, as gas and dust coalesces and collapses and begins the process of star formation.
The Sombrero Galaxy is also thought to be home to up to 2,000 globular clusters, which at about 10-13 billion years old are some of the oldest objects in the Universe.
Below is a selection of images of the Sombrero Galaxy captured by amateur astrophotographers.
For more info on how to photograph galaxies, read our deep-sky astrophotography guide or our tutorial on image processing.
And don’t forget to send us your images. You can also share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Sombrero Galaxy by Mark Casto, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200p on an EQ5 mount, Canon 350D modded camera.
M104 Sombrero Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount,Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
Sombrero Galaxy by Scott Phillips, Wales, UK. Equipment: Iphone 5a, Orion SteadyPix Adapter, NightCap Pro App
M104 by Chris Price, Georgia, USA. Equipment: Orion Newt f3.9 8″ astrograph, Celestron CG-5 GT, Canon T3i modded
M104 by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT at f/8 2432mm.
M104 Sombero Galaxy by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount,Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters, Hutech IDAS light pollution filter.