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[M104 VLT image]

This photo of the Sombrero Galaxy (Messier 104) was obtained with FORS1 multi-mode instrument at VLT ANTU on January 30, 2000 (ESO PR Photo 07a/00). It is a composite of three exposures in different wavebands. North is up and East is left. The full-resolution version of this photo retains the orginal pixels.

The colour image was made by a combination of three CCD images from the FORS1 multi-mode instrument on VLT ANTU, recently obtained by Peter Barthel from the Kapteyn Institute (Groningen, The Netherlands) during an observing run at the Paranal Observatory. He and Mark Neeser, also from the Kapteyn Institute, produced the composite images.

The galaxy fits perfectly into the 6.8 x 6.8 arcmin^2 field-of-view of the FORS1 camera. A great amount of fine detail is revealed, from the structures in the pronounced dust band in the equatorial plane, to many faint background galaxies that shine through the outer regions.

  • This image was featured as Astronomical Picture of the Day for February 28, 2000
  • ESO offers the M104 VLT slide in their ESO slide set 3

    [M104 detail, VLT image]

    The eastern area, with the pronounced dust bands and many background galaxies (ESO PR Photo 07b/00).

    [M104 disk, VLT]

    This image has been processed to show the numerous dust bands in the central plane of the Sombrero galaxy (ESO PR Photo 07c/00). Thie enhances the spiral structure of M104, so that it can be traced all around the galaxy's disk.

    This photo was made by dividing the V-band image by itself smoothed with a 2D gaussian profile (sigma: 10 pix); this removes the uniform areas and enhances the high spatial frequency features, e.g. the dust bands. Image processing by Mark Neeser (Kapteyn Institute, Groningen) and Richard Hook (ST/ECF, Garching, Germany).

  • ESO Press Release 07/00, photos 07a-c/00
  • More ESO images of Messier objects

  • More images of M104
  • Amateur images of M104; more amateur images

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: May 11, 2001