The Sombrero Galaxy is 50 million light years away, but it looks much closer in this detailed image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
We see the flattened disc of the Sombrero Galaxy nearly edge-on, and it’s ringed with dark lanes of dust and young, bright stars.
The galaxy’s large central bulge is home to older stars, including many globular clusters (round groups of several stars), which you can see in this Hubble image if you zoom in and look closely. Like most galaxies, the Sombrero probably has a large black hole at its heart.
This image is so detailed, you can see other galaxies in the background.
Think about this for a minute: Each of those tiny little specks of light in the Sombrero Galaxy is a star, on roughly the same scale as our Sun. Each of those little galaxies in the background of this image is roughly on the same scale as the Sombrero Galaxy, so think about how far away they have to be in order to appear so small in the background. Space is huge, and this image illustrates that beautifully.
Zoom in on the original image and scroll around to see more distant galaxies. You can’t see them in as much detail as the Sombrero, of course, but what you can see is pretty cool.
See if you can find this cool double spiral near the bottom of the image.
This Hubble image is stunning, but you can also see the Sombrero Galaxy with a much smaller telescope. Just look near the constellation of Virgo in the night sky.