​IMAGE GALLERY



This is a closeup of the Sombrero Galaxy (M 104) in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. Many people who see this galaxy for the first time think that they are looking at a flying saucer. Of course, this one is real.
At first glance, this looks like a star cluster. If you look closely, you'll see that most of these "stars" are actually galaxies. This is part of the dense Coma Cluster of Galaxies. Most of them in the center are roundish elliptical galaxies so that's why they look like fuzzy stars. There are 186 galaxies in this image taken in May from Mount Sangre Observatory. The ruddy hue of these galaxies is due partly to their distance from us (over 350 million light years) and partly because of the reddish glow of older stars which dominate their galactic neighborhoods. There are over 1,000 galaxies in the Coma Cluster, one of the largest galaxy groups in our area of the Universe. You can begin to see the web-like structure that the galaxies form which is characteristic of the largest scale structure of visible matter in the Universe. There are hundreds of trillions of stars in all these galaxies. Imagine how many harbor Earth-like planets.