Todays image and the topic of my ramblings is the astronomical object M104, also known as "The Sombrero Galaxy". I think it is sooo beautiful and I hope you agree.
It's an astonishing picture, but when you learn about this galaxy, it is also a very interesting one. In the middle there is a huge black hole, one of the largest who has ever been found. M104 is also moving at an incredibly speed, four million km/h. This lead to the discovery that the entire universe expands, and after that, the explanation for it was found: The Big Bang-theory.
Click the "Read More"-button for some links and more "purdy pictures".
Sidenote: Did you know that when you are laying in bed about to falla sleep and everything is very still and quiet, that you, and planetearth, are actually moving at 29,800 m/s (107,280 km/h) around thesun? Think about it next time: one second ago you were over there,29.000 km away from here.
M104 contains about 800 billionstars (nine zeros), it is also 50.000 light years across and thedistance from earth is 28 million light years. It also has a curiousring around it, called the "dust lane". How did that happen to form? Itis pretty big and round.
When the light from this galaxy started it's journey to earth the geological time period was called Oligocene, a period in which there was a great shift of plants and animals. A large number of them died out to be replaced by others, probably beacuse of some sort of sudden event. (The Dinosaurs disappeared long before that, 65 million years ago). Homo Sapiens showed up for about 2.5 million years ago.
Read more about it: Oligocene and Timeline of evolution.
M104 are in the star constellation Virgo and it should be about as wide in the sky as a fifth of the moon. But you would need binoculars that are at least 7x35 or a 100 mm telescope to se it, and a 300 mm telescope to see the ring.
Pictures and links
Click these thumbnails for bigger pictures:
Same image as above but bigger, hit your escape-key, or find the X-close-box in the upper corner to close.
Heritage Project Celebrates Five Years of Harvesting the Best Images from Hubble Space Telescope
More images of interesting astronomical objects:
Hubble information centre: Hall of fame (last row is where M104 is)
Dont miss the calendars on the Goodie-page.
There are a lot of pretty things when you press "Previos Release" a few times also (actually same link as above).
Photo credits: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Sleeping Fairy by ifraud.