It turns out the so-called Sombrero Galaxy — shaped like the Mexican hat — is now two.
Ay Dios mio: Leave us Latinos alone for two seconds and — boom! — we multiply.
Well, not exactly. The Sombrero was two all along, NASA Spitzer Science Center researchers at Caltech said recently:
Using their Spitzer Space Telescope, the Caltech scientists were able to pierce the Sombrero's space dust and determine that an existing outer halo is “a full-fledged elliptical galaxy,” according to a Caltech statement.
That's one mighty hat.
The discovery yielded a paper in the Royal Astronomical Society's journal Monthly Notices. Lead author, Dimitri Gadotti, says:
The Sombrero is more complex than previously thought. The only way to understand all we know about this galaxy is to think of it as two galaxies, one inside the other.
Símon. Just like the Latino himself — brown on the outside but mestizo (“mixed”) in his heritage.
But we digress. The Sombero duo is about 28 million light-years away, in the constellation Virgo, says NASA, which adds:
From our viewpoint on Earth, we can see the thin edge of its flat disk and a central bulge of stars, making it resemble a wide-brimmed hat.
Ay-yaiy-yaiy! (Whistles. Barks at the moon).
The report's co-author, Rubén Sánchez-Janssen, says:
This poses all sorts of questions. How did such a large disk take shape and survive inside such a massive elliptical? How unusual is such a formation process?
It probably all started with a humble ball of space masa.