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.

February 8, 1997
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M104: The Sombrero Galaxy
T. Boroson (NOAO /USGP), W. Keel (UA), 0.9-m Telescope, 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.

Tomorrow's picture: The Deep Field

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