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M104 : Sombrero Galaxy

M104 : Sombrero Galaxy  

The Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104) is one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies. The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on; we view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. Hubble easily resolves M104's rich system of globular clusters, estimated to be nearly 2,000 in number 10 times as many as orbit our Milky Way galaxy. The ages of the clusters are similar to the clusters in the Milky Way, ranging from 10-13 billion years old. Embedded in the bright core of M104 is a smaller disk, which is tilted relative to the large disk. X-ray emission suggests that there is material falling into the compact core, where a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     

ESO 510-G13 : Warped Galaxy

ESO 510-G13 : Warped Galaxy

ESO 510-G13 galaxy has an unusual twisted disk structure; details of the struc- ture are visible because the interstellar dust clouds that trace its disk are silhou- etted from behind by light from the galaxy's bright, smooth central bulge. The strong warping of the disk indicates that ESO 510-G13 has recently undergone a colli- sion with a nearby galaxy and is in the process of swallowing it. Gravitational forces distort the structures of the galaxies as their stars, gas, and dust merge together in a process that takes millions of years. In the outer regions of ESO 510-G13, especially on the right-hand side of the image, the twisted disk contains not only dark dust, but also bright clouds of blue stars. This shows that hot, young stars are being formed in the disk.

 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
   
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Krešimir J. Adamić
UPDATED:
2004-01-18