The amazing Sombrero Galaxy’s glowing central core

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[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIS RESOLUTION, Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI /NASA)]

SombreroWhy does the Sombrero Galaxy look like a hat?

Reasons include the Sombrero’s unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on.

Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge. Close inspection of the bulge in the above photograph shows many points of light that are actually globular clusters.

M104’s spectacular dust rings harbor many younger and brighter stars, and show intricate details astronomers don’t yet fully understand. The very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and is thought to house a large black hole.

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