The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

The Sombrero Galaxy (also known as Messier Object 104, M104 or NGC 4594) is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Virgo located 28 million light-years (8.6 Mpc) from Earth.  It has a bright nucleus, an unusually large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk. The dark dust lane and the bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero. Astronomers initially thought that the halo was small and light, indicative of a spiral galaxy, but Spitzer found that the halo around the Sombrero Galaxy is larger and more massive than previously thought, indicative of a giant elliptical galaxy.

In the 1990s, a research group led by John Kormendy demonstrated that a supermassive black hole is present within the Sombrero Galaxy. Using spectroscopy data from both the CFHT and the Hubble Space Telescope, the group showed that the speed of revolution of the stars within the center of the galaxy could not be maintained unless a mass 1 billion times the mass of the Sun, or 109 M☉, is present in the center. This is among the most massive black holes measured in any nearby galaxies.

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