Sombrero Galaxy


The Sombrero galaxy is a giant elliptical-shaped galaxy seen in profile in which a large nucleus can be seen surrounded by an extensive band of dust that belongs to the constellation Virgo and is located 28 million light years away.


It is known by the name of Messier 104, M104 also called NGC4594. It is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac and follows Leo to the east and is located before Libra in its displacement.

  • Type:  Spiral Galaxy
  • Diameter:  Between 50,000 and 140,000 light-years
  • Distance to Earth:   28 million light-years

What is the Sombrero galaxy?

Also known by the name of Messier 104, Galaxy is the hat belonging to the constellation of Virgo which is shaped elliptical giant when viewed in profile and has a core surrounded by a large band of dust.


History of the Sombrero galaxy:

The Sombrero galaxy was found by Pierre Méchain in the 18th century and was described by scientists as a rather faint type of nebula. Later, in the year 1784, William Herschel discovered it independently. In 1912, Vesto Slipher discovered that the galaxy had a redshift, which means that it had an increase in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.

Location of the Sombrero galaxy:

The galaxy is located in the constellation Virgo, but it is not considered part of the Virgo Cluster. It is located approximately 28,000 light years from Earth.

Structure of the Sombrero galaxy:

The structure of this galaxy is spiral-shaped when viewed from the side, with a glow in the densest core of stars and the disk of dust and gas. In it, you can find a set of protrusions of stars and a hidden disk of them located in the ring of dust that surrounds it.

This disk is deformed due to the gravitational force that other galaxies exert on it. In its structure, a series of clustered spots can also be observed at the farthest edges of the ring, which indicates that younger regions of star clusters are forming.


The Sombrero Galaxy can be easily located and seen when the known star Somo Spica, which is the main part of the Virgo constellation, is located. From this location, it is possible to observe the galaxy as it has a declination equal to that of M104.

Then it should move 11.5 ° to the west. It is visible using 7x magnification 35mm aperture binoculars. It can also be observed by means of an amateur telescope that has a 4 mm aperture. Using 6-inch telescopes and with good weather conditions, the galactic halo can be observed at 8 mm. you can see the bulge of the disc.


Some of the most relevant curiosities of the Sombrero galaxy are the following:

  • It has a galactic halo of immense dimensions.
  • It has a huge black hole at its center.
  • The galaxy is crossed by a band of dark dust which is formed by a large number of young and luminous stars in a longitudinal way.
  • It presents a slant from our perspective.
  • It is shaped like Mexican hat with a wide brim, and from this, it derives its name.
  • The hat aspect is due to the central bulb of stars that it has.
  • It is approximately fifty million years old.
  • It also has a large number of different globular clusters, about 2000 approximately.
  • The mass of its central black hole has been considered to be approximately 1 billion solar masses, making it the largest of the black holes measured in nearby galaxies.

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