Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2007 May 5
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 the highest resolution version available.

Sombrero Galaxy Across the Spectrum
Credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/AURA/Hubble Heritage;
Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. AZ/R.Kennicutt/SINGS Team

Explanation: Appropriately famous for its broad ring of obscuring dust and hat-like appearance, the Sombrero Galaxy (aka spiral galaxy M104) is featured in this unique composite view that spans the electromagnetic spectrum, from three major space-based observatories. Exploring the Sombrero's high-energy x-ray emission (blue), the Chandra contribution highlights the pervasive, tenuous, hot gas that extends some 60,000 light-years from the galaxy's center. Hubble's optical view (green) shows the more familiar emission from the Sombrero's population of stars, seen from a nearly edge-on perspective and noticeably bulging at the galaxy's bright core. The broad ring of dust that blocks light in other bands, glows in the infrared contribution (red) from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The Sombrero Galaxy is about 28 million light-years away, near the southern edge of the extensive Virgo cluster of galaxies.

Tomorrow's picture: star cluster

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