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 fall
a sleep and everything is very still and quiet, that you, and planet
earth, are actually moving at 29,800 m/s (107,280 km/h) around the
sun? Think about it next time: one second ago you were over there,
29.000 km away from here.
M104 contains about 800 billion stars (nine zeros), it is also 50.000 light years across and the distance from earth is 28 million light years. It also has a curious ring around it, called the "dust lane". How did that happen to form? It is 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.
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.
More images of interesting astronomical objects:
Sleeping Fairy by ifraud.