Picture of the Day: The Sombrero Galaxy

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Dubbed the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars. The galaxy's unusual appearance include an unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent interstellar dust lanes that create a seemingly opaque rim. Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge. 

Captured by NASA's Hubble telescope, the very center of the Sombrero glows across the electromagnetic spectrum, and is thought to house a large black hole. Fifty million-year-old light from the Sombrero Galaxy can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of Virgo.

View more Pictures of the Day.

Images: NASA.

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Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

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