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Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 4594 (9,998 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Sombrero Galaxy

NGC 4594, LEDA 42407, MCG-02-32-020, Messier 104, Bennett 52, Sombrero Galaxy, I 43, h 1376, GC 3132

RA: 12h 39m 59.4302s
Dec: −11° 37′ 22.985″

Con: Virgo
Ch: MSA:821, U2:284, SA:14


(reference key)

Type: galaxy (AGN LINER-type), Sa

Mag: B=9, V=?

Size: 8.511′ x 5.37′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (7)

Select a photo and click the button to view

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

Synonyms: H I-043

This galaxy is a member of the Virgo Cluster.

Discovered in May 1784 by William Herschel with an 18.7-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He called it "E vBM 5 or 6' long." He notes a second observation on 11 March 1788: "much elongated from about 20 degrees sp to nf, bright nucleus, 4 or 5' long. In 1784 'the bright place in the middle is pretty large, but breaks off abruptly.' "

Lassell, W. (1866)

Bibcode: [1866MmRAS..36....1L]

Sketched and described.

Published comments

Stewart (1908) Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60 (6)

Table IV: Peculiar blank space with neb.

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part V. M.N.R.A.S., 36(3), 89.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"nebula; elongated at 90�, 4' x 0.4'; nucleus, spiral seen edgewise?"

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Sandage, A. (1961) The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies

This galaxy appears on page 24 of "The Hubble Atlas of Galaxies" by Allan Sandage (1961, Washington, DC).

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

Notes that this is a 9.5 mag galaxy. Their coded description reads EON,FLDSK&VLGNUCBULG EQDKLN.

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1975)

de Vaucouleurs, G. (1975) Nearby groups of galaxies. In: Kuiper, G. (ed) Stars and Stellar Systems. Volume 9: Galaxies and the Universe. Chapter 14, p557.

p 590: "The present data on nearby groups may nevertheless help to answer the simpler question:Are there isolated galaxies? ... out of the 60 galaxies in this objectively selected sample, only eight have not been associated with one of the 55 nearby groups, viz. NGC 404, NGC 1313, NGC 2903, NGC 3109, NGC 3521, NGC 6744, NGC 6946 & IC 5152. In addition there is a possibility that a few galaxies, such as NGC 1316, NGC 4594, NGC 4826 are not really members of the groups (For I, Vir Y, CVn I) to which they have been tentatively assigned. Furthermore, the reality of the NGC 5128 chain as a physical unit may be questionable; but then it is difficult to know where to stop in this 'dismemberment' of loose groups, and the local outcome of an overconservative attitude would be to exclude from consideration all but a few rich clusters and dense groups... on the other hand, several of the eight supposedly isolated galaxies might yupon further investigation turn out to be members of some of the nearer groups; in particular, NGC 404, NGC 3109 and IC 1512 should be examined for possible membership in the Local Group. Other (more remote) possibilities are NGC 1569, IC 342 and perhaps some heavily obscured systems as yet unrecognized. For example, IC 10, although long suspected, was only recently established as a Local Group member (Roberts 1962, de Vaucouleurs and Ables 1965). ... to the writer's knowledge, NGC 1313 and NGC 6744 in the southern sky, and probably NGC 2903 and NGC 6946 in the northern sky, are truly isolated galaxies not associated with any nearby group, although both are in the larger Local Supercluster."

Modern observations

Walter Scott Houston

Houston notes that it is "bright at 8th magnitude, about 6' long and a third as wide. The dark lane that appears to split this edge-on galaxy is conspicuous on photographs but very difficult to detect visually."

Bahr-Vollrath, Gerd (1992)

Gerd Bahr-Vollrath (Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia) observing with an 8-inch f/12 SCT, writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 10, July 1992: "A bright, fairly large spindle. The bright, elongated nucleus has an almost stellar core. The galaxy grows larger with averted vision, and occasionally a distinct large hub becomes visible. South of the nucleus is a faint streak of light, and averted vision reveals a bisecting dust lane, mildly curving to the north. A splendid sight!"

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "8.2M; 7' x 1.5' extent; bright and large, E-W-oriented slash with very bright but non-stellar nucleus; prominent equatorial dust lane; 13M star 2' N of core; see photo at HAG-24; the "SOMBRERO"; !good supernova prospect! knot of four 9M stars 20' WNW; 9M star 7' SE; 9M star 12' SSE."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "(M 104) bright, large, much elongated 3X1 E-W and very much brighter middle at 100X. The Sombrero Galaxy has an immediately noticed dark lane which is offset so that the nucleus sits on it."

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "(M 104), it is Bright, large, much elongated with a very bright middle at 135X. Going to 220X brings out the dark lane even more and shows some mottling across the face of this galaxy. There is an 11th ag star to the north of the nucleus."

Shaffer, Alan (IAAC)

Observer: Alan Shaffer (e-mail: milkyway@gte.net, web: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/3693/)

Instrument: 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector Location: Mt. Pinos, California, US

Light pollution: none Transparency: excellent Seeing: excellent

Time: Sat Jun 7 10:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 150

I was on another object, walked away, and came back to this beautiful sight. My friend moved my scope to M104. Dark dust lane "shadow" was easily seen @ 104X and then at higher power. Rather bright and large. Just like in the photo's, almost edge on with a rather large central core. Theory supports a super black hole in the core of this galaxy.

Danie L. Cronje


Danie Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, calls it "faint, elongated glow. Quite easy to pick up."

Contemporary observations

Gabriel Giust

1995 April 30

8-inch Newtonian, 66x: 1995-04-30 "Notably extended with an oval bright centre and with a plainer southern border." [Gabriel Giust, San Isidro, Argentina]

Magda Streicher

2008 Feb 01


Tel: 12" S/C �76x - 218x - Date: 1 Feb 2008 � Site: Alldays - good

The first striking impression is the straight dust lane which is been high light with the soft glow of this galaxy northern part. The lane is been well define towards the southern part of the galaxy. The nucleus is well outstanding and extends its pointed light E-W. The faint star which I estimate around 13-magnitude is seen just off the northern edge of the galaxy. Faint stars from the galaxy west edge swing out towards the south. Three brighter stars in the field situated 12' towards the NE.

1997 June 07

Date: 7 6 1997

Definitevly Bright edge on bright nucleus Edges run out thinly with a dust band very promined to the one side. Few stars nicely aspread out thinly. Looks like a thin dust band to side of this edge Forms hazyness to the sides Darker to one side.Few stars in field, nice and big. Def dustband to one side.

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 40mm SW 76x 53' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov; 2-inch 8.8mm UW 346x 15' fov)

Another beautiful galaxy in the sky. Excellent bright, very large edge-on, bulging with a stellar nucleus. Running out thinly with a very prominent thin dust band that cuts it in two from east to west. The two parts appear soft with the northern sphere somewhat bigger. The very faint 12th magnitude star is visible tight to the south west of the galaxy. About 28' arc minutes straight west a star asterism can be seen (12h38m33s �11�30'40") with a further few faint stars to the north to supply character to it.

Auke Slotegraaf

1994 February 08

1994-02-08, Die Boord, 11x80's tripod-mounted. This galaxy is as in easy starhop from Delta+Eta Corvi. Binoculars clearly show it as a moderately bright elongated haze with several faint field stars nearby.

1998 April 27

1998-04-27/28, 11x80 tripod-mounted binoculars, Die Boord. Seeing average, transparency average, dew. "Round nebulous glow, 3.3' across. Even light, with no brighter regions. Moderately easy."

Chris Vermeulen

2006 April 19

2006/4/19, 21h20

Location: West Village, Krugersdorp

Sky Conditions: Poor: Partly Cloudy

Moderate light pollution

Quality of Observation: Moderate

6" Dobsonian 25mm & 10mm Eyepiece

Elongated fuzzy 'cloud' with a very distinctive bulge in the centre. Bulge in the centre appears brighter with more condensed light than outer areas. M104 is an astonishing and breathtaking object, difficult to find under urban light pollution, but worth the effort. Three stars in line with a fourth at the 'foot-end' of the three stars form a 'L' shape at the bottom right of the picture are used to indicate/determine location of M104.

First impression under 48x magnification was that it could possible be a globular cluster due to its hazy appearance, but with 120x magnification the magnificent light bulge in the centre can be distinguished and the elongated shape becomes more apparent with a slight shadow cast across the bottom centre of the object. This is the 'arm' of M104 encircling the light bulge in the centre.

Tom Bryant

2011 4 28 21:42:16

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[12h 40m 0s, -11� 37' 0"] Even in these light polluted skies, one can make out the bright nucleus and orientation of the disk. No hint of a dark lane, though.

2008-04-15 03:15:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[12h 40m 0s, -11� 37' 0"] AKA M 104. A difficult object in tonight's moonwashed skies. I missed it altogether two nights ago. It was a faint, small (7 arc minute) streak slightly brighter towards the middle. It would be superb in dark skies.

Richard Ford

2015, February, 23rd



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible on the horizon.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

This galaxy has the shape of a Mexican hat with two bright extensions which is seen edge on at 75x.The galactic nucleus of this galaxy is moderately condensed and around the outskirts of this galaxy there are plenty of areas of uneven brightness being noticeable.This galaxy measures 8.2'x 4.8'with P.A:East/West.Chart No.457, NSOG Vol.2.

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