The Sombrero Galaxy, number 104 in Messier's Catalog, at a distance of 50 million light years, lies low in the constellation Virgo, and so is
difficult to image from northern lattitudes. The unusual appearance of this spiral galaxy relates to the tilt of the galaxy, only 6 degrees from
purely edge on. A thick band of obscuring dust along the equator of the galaxy contributes to the illusion of a Mexican hat, well seen with
telescopes of 6" aperture or larger. Believe it or not, this is a color image. Even the Hubble Space Telescope image of the Sombrero only
shows "a whiter shade of pale."
The image above is my 2007 effort to image M104, and my second try at the Hidden Lake Observatory. An ST10XME with an AP 0.67x
nosepiece reducer was used through a Meade 12" RC/SCT, with exposures of 30 minutes each luminance, red, green, and blue, all
unbinned. I allowed the color channels to maintain 20% of the luminosity.
The image below left was my 2006 attempt at imaging this object. Twenty 5-minute exposures, for a total exposure time of 100 minutes,
were obtained with an ST-10XME camera through a Celestron C8 telescope at f10. I used the same camera and telescope as the image
below, but used luminance only images, binned 2x2.
The image below right, obtained in 2004 from my backyard, combined 20 minutes of luminance exposures with 10 minutes each of red and
green and 15 minutes blue exposures. An ST-10XME camera imaged through a Celestron C8 telescope at f10.
Music: A Whiter Shade of Pale, by Procol Harum