The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy – M104 in the Messier Catalogue or NGC 4594 – is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Virgo, named for its resemblance to a Mexican sombrero hat. This shape is due to the dust lanes that crosse in front of the galaxy’s central bulge.

Sombrero Galaxy M104
Hubble Space Telescope image of the Sombrero Galaxy M104. Image Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) from: (Click to enlarge)

The Sombrero galaxy is approximately 9.55 million parsecs (31 million light-years) from Earth and around 15,000 parsecs (49,000 light-years) across (see Astronomical Distance Measurements).

The Sombrero galaxy is located south of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and straddles the constellation boundary of Virgo and Corvus. The galaxy contains up to two thousand globular star clusters, more than ten times the amount found in the our own Milky Way galaxy.

The equatorial coordinates of the Sombrero galaxy are:
Right Ascension: 12h 39m 59.4s, Declination: −11° 37′ 23″

Location of M104 The Sombrero Galaxy
Star chart showing the Location of M104, The Sombrero Galaxy

To find the Sombrero galaxy’s current position in the sky from your location, visit our Night Sky Simulator.

Astronomy, Cosmology, Space and Astrophysics