M104 The Sombrero Galaxy


The Sombrero Galaxy

M104 is a galaxy seen edge on. The source of the galaxy's name is the well defined dark dust lane down the middle of the galaxy. M104 has a diameter of about 82,000 light-years, and lies about 40 million light years away. This galaxy was involved in the early measurements of red shift begun at Lowell Observatory in 1912. These measurements demonstrated that the galaxy was receding from us at a high speed of 700 miles per second, and provided strong support for the theory that it was an object outside our own galaxy. This theory was proven to be correct in 1923 by Edwin Hubble.

The galaxy now known as M104 was discovered by P. Mechain in May 1781. Mechain reported M104 to Messier for inclusion in the Messier Catalog, but it was never added by Messier prior to his death. Messier did, however, add M104 to his personal copy of the catalog.

This is an LRGB color composite image taken with an ST-8E on a Takahashi FCT-150 refractor at f7. The luminance data was taken on one night, and the RGB data taken on another night.

M104 (NGC 4594)
Constellation: Virgo
RA: 12h 39m 59s Dec: -11d 37' 21" (J2000)
March 21 & 24, 2004
Image by Sid Leach
Scottsdale, Arizona

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