A dark lane of dust outlines the disk of Messier 104, giving the galaxy a festive nickname: the Sombrero. The galaxy is about 30 million light-years away, in Virgo. It has a bright “bulge” of stars in the middle, and a lane of dark dust around its rim. The galaxy has a central black hole that’s roughly 250 times the mass of the Milky Way’s black hole. It appears to be “feeding” on massive amounts of gas, perhaps funneled in from outside the galaxy. Stars are being born in a ring of dust along the dark rim.
[ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5 m/R. Gendler and J.-E. Ovaldsen]
Find out more in our radio program entitled Sombrero Galaxy.