Astronomy Picture of the Day

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

November 9, 1995
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M104: The Sombrero Galaxy
Credit: T. Boroson (NOAO /USGP), W. Keel (UA), KPNO

Explanation: The famous Sombrero galaxy (M104) is a bright nearby spiral galaxy. The prominent dust lane and halo of stars and globular clusters give this galaxy its name. Something very energetic is going on in the Sombrero's center, as much X-ray light has been detected from it. This X-ray emission coupled with unusually high central stellar velocities cause many astronomers to speculate that a black hole lies at the Sombrero's center - a black hole a billion times the mass of our Sun. This image was taken in blue light by the 0.9 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Tomorrow's picture: Lightning and the Space Shuttle

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