A guide to what's up in the sky for Southern Australia

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy (9th Apr 2024)

M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy. Distance: 31 Million Light Years

M104, located within the constellation of Corvus, the Crow, is truly a remarkable sight with its prominent glowing bulge transected by a thick dusty disk. In the realm of galaxies its haunting form is nearly an icon. M104 is a luminous and truly massive galaxy with an equivalent total mass of 800 billion suns. Its edge-on view has provided astronomers with insight into the organization of matter within spiral galaxies.

M104 is one of a growing list of galaxies known to possess a super
massive black hole within its nucleus. M104's black hole contains a monstrous one billion solar masses. Super massive black holes of that size are usually found in very luminous galaxies possessing an active galactic nucleus (AGN). An accretion disk feeds matter to the black hole provoking the release of prodigious amounts of energy in the form of light, radiation, and jets of superheated gas which are characteristic of AGNs.