Messier Objects

M104 "Sombrero Galaxy": Edge-on Spiral Galaxy (Virgo) RA: 12h 40.0m / DEC: -11° 37'.4
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M104 is an edge-on spiral galaxy in far southern Virgo. Its edge-on orientation and impressive dark lane have earned the moniker, "Sombrero Galaxy." The sketch at left captures the Sombrero's appearance at 190X in my 10-inch, f/4.5 Newtonian reflector. The 8.0 magnitude galaxy features a bright inner core measuring some 30" across. This feature narrows to a narrow stroke of light tracing the edge of the galactic disk for a distance of 5'.5 along an east-west axis. The fat central bulge extends roughly 3' in diameter at its widest and gradually tapers toward each end of the disk. The southern portion of the bulge gives the appearance of being detached from the much larger northern part. This illusion is, of course, caused by a dark and dusty rift along the edge of the disk. It's a phenomenon observers of the summer Milky Way know quite well. You'll find M104 3.3 degrees north-northeast of Algorab, at 2.9 magnitude the brightest star in Corvus.

M103-Christmas Tree Cluster M105


Navigation Image, see text links below Web Links Glossary Sketching Astrophotography Planetary Observing Deep-sky Observing Getting Started About Cosmic Voyage Home

Home | About Cosmic Voyage | Getting Started | Deep-sky Observing | Planetary Observing | Astrophotography | Sketching | Glossary | Web Links


Layout, design & revisions © W. D. Ferris
Comments and Suggestions:

Revised: April 4, 2003 [WDF]