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Little Sombrero Galaxy

C43, NGC 7814

A distinctive spiral galaxy that lies within the Square of Pegasus in the northern skies of Earth. It falls just within one corner of the Square, falling close to the star Algenib that forms the Square's southeastern corner. In reality, the galaxy lies far beyond Algenib, some 56 million light years from the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Little Sombrero takes its name from its remarkable structural similarity to the galaxy M104 in Virgo, commonly called the Sombrero Galaxy. Both of an intensely bright nucleus and a glowing galactic halo, and both appear nearly edge-on as viewed from Earth. This edge-on alignment means that the lanes of dark dust in the narrow galactic plane align to form a fine but intricately patterned dark line that stands out clearly against the main glow of the galaxy.

Though this galaxy is known as the 'Little' Sombrero, in fact both Sombrero galaxies are of a roughly similar size, each some 50,000 light years from side to side (making them each about half the size of the Milky Way). Of the two galaxies, however, the Little Sombrero is rather more distant from the Milky Way. Lying some ten million light years farther away than the Virgo Sombrero, it therefore appears somewhat smaller from the perspective of an observer on Earth.


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