M104 in IR

Messier 104 is also known as the Sombrero Galaxy. Seen in visible light, it has has bright nucleus and a very large central bulge. We see it almost edge on, and its dark perimeter dust lanes and the bulge give it an appearance like a sombrero hat.

The picture above was taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer’s infrared camera uncovered the bright, smooth ring of dust circling the galaxy (red in this false color image). Because this galaxy is seen nearly edge-on, only the near rim of dust can be clearly seen in visible light. Spitzer’s view shows the disk is warped, probably the result of a gravitational encounter with another galaxy. It also reveals areas of new star formation on the far side of the ring.

Image Credit: NASA

Leave a Reply