Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared

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The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared


This floating ring is the size of a galaxy.

In fact, it is part of the photogenic
Sombrero Galaxy,
one of the largest galaxies in the nearby
Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.

The dark band of
dust that obscures the mid-section of the
Sombrero Galaxy in optical light actually
glows brightly in infrared light.

The above image shows the
glow, recently recorded by the orbiting
Spitzer Space Telescope, superposed in false-color on an
existing image taken by
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
in optical light.

The Sombrero
Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across and lies 28 million light years away.

M104 can be seen with a small telescope in the direction of the
constellation Virgo.

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