M104 - The Sombrero Galaxy in Virgo


Copyright 2006 Hap Griffin

First discovered in 1783 by Pierre Mechain, M104 is popularly called the Sombrero Galaxy because of its resemblance to the Mexican hat.  It is a spiral galaxy of type Sa-Sb, which are defined by large bright cores and well defined spiral arms.  However, the unusual extent of the central bulge in M104 obscures most of the arms in this photograph.  M104 also has a very conspicuous dark lane of dust along its perimeter.  

M104 lies at a distance of 50 million light-years.

Date/Location:    March 25, 2006     Griffin/Hunter Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 350XT Digital SLR (modified) through 10" Meade RCX400 
Focal Ratio:   f8
Guiding:    Auto through Orion ED-80 w/ SBIG ST-237
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    39 deg. F 
Exposure: 75 minutes total @ ISO 800 (15 x 5 min exposures)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR Block
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  Pre-Bayer Interpolation calibrations, frame alignment and stacking, Adaptive Richardson_Lucy deconvolution, scaling and JPEG conversion with ImagesPlus.  Color correction, curves and levels with Photoshop 6.  Noise reduction with NeatImage.