• Sombrero Galaxy print

Sombrero Galaxy

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The Sombrero Galaxy is a spiral galaxy located 28 million lightyears from Earth, and has a diameter of approximately 50,000 lightyears, which is around 30% the size of the Milky Way. It is located in the constellation Virgo, which can be seen from both the northern and southern hemispheres, depending on the time of year.

The Sombrero Galaxy was originally discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781, but was rediscovered in 1784 by William Herschel, who found it with his celebrated reflector telescope.

Its brilliant nucleus, large central bulge and spiral arms threaded with a thick dust lane makes it look like the wide-brimmed hat from Mexico. The dust lane is a ring that circles the bulge of the galaxy, rich with dust and hydrogen gas. It has a supermassive black hole at its heart (revealed in 1996 through observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, amongst others), and research of star motions near the black hole suggest it could have a mass of a billion Suns; perhaps the most massive of any black hole found so far at the heart of a galaxy.

The Hubble Space Telescope has provided us with an exceptional view of the galaxy in this enhanced image, revealing the intricate dust lanes that lace the arms of this spiral galaxy. If you look carefully you will see the detail in the structure of the spiral arms, accented by the dark dust lane.

Something very energetic is going on in the Sombrero’s centre, as many x-ray emissions have been detected from it. However, there is no way a hypothetical probe would get near it because of the extreme gravitational force.

It looks strange and eerie but also serene and beautiful. The Sombrero Galaxy was voted the most beautiful picture taken by Hubble Telescope.

If you spend some time looking for them, you’ll also find lots more distant galaxies in this stunning image. Just imagine how many could harbour life…

Pigment inks on 271gsm satin paper, professionally hand-bonded onto a 5mm cast acrylic panel. Currently available in two sizes:

  • 24″ (w) × 15″ (h)
  • 12″ (w) × 7.5″ (h)

Each acrylic print comes ready to hang.

FREE delivery.

Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)