M104 (NGC 4594) -- Sombrero Galaxy & Jaws Asterism in Virgo
A Galaxy Hunting Shark
The Sombrero Galaxy (M 104), at magnitude 8, is bright and easy to see even in small to
medium-sized telescopes from suburbia. It is readily apparent from my backyard with the
2.4-inch f/15 refractor. With the 6-inch refractor the bright nucleus along with its edge-on
dark dust-lane is within reach. I have always found the Sombrero Galaxy enjoyable in
any-sized telescope. The drawing was done using a low-power eyepiece with the details
of the galaxy helped with a high-power eyepiece.
An interesting fact about the Sombrero Galaxy is that it has over 2,000 globular clusters.
Our Milky Way galaxy is larger than the Sombrero Galaxy but has less than 1/10th the
number of globular clusters. The reason for this is not known.
Have you ever noticed that the Sombrero Galaxy is being hunted by a giant celestial shark?
The asterism called “JAWS” is closing in on the poor defenseless galaxy. In the drawing the
“jaws” are the three bright stars in a row at the 09:30 o’clock position from the Sombrero
galaxy. The shark’s body consists of 6-bright stars leading up and away from the “jaws”
and another bright star marks its pectoral fin. The shark is turning towards the galaxy with
its mouth open! Do you see it? This interesting asterism is labeled as “Pot 11” in the
Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas.