Mostly Mute Monday: The Cosmic Sombrero (Synopsis)

“Since man, fragment of the universe, is governed by the same laws that preside over the heavens, it is by no means absurd to search there above for the themes of our lives, for those frigid sympathies that participate in our achievements as well as our blunderings.” –Marguerite Yourcenar

Galaxies are everywhere we look in the Universe, clustered together in groups and separated by voids. It stands to reason that if we look beyond the local group, one of those galaxies would have to be the brightest. But the one that is turns out to be most unusual.

Image composite credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/AURA/Hubble Heritage; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. AZ/R.Kennicutt/SINGS Team.
Image composite credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/AURA/Hubble Heritage; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. AZ/R.Kennicutt/SINGS Team.

Only half the diameter of the Milky Way but with more than twice as many stars, the Sombrero is both an elliptical and a spiral galaxy all in one. And thanks to Hubble and some incredible image processing, we can actually separate out the bright, elliptical component and view the spiral all on its own.

Image credit: Vicent Peris (OAUV / PTeam), MAST, STScI, AURA, NASA.
Image credit: Vicent Peris (OAUV / PTeam), MAST, STScI, AURA, NASA.

Go get the most incredible views of this galaxy, ever, on today’s Mostly Mute Monday!