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This bright galaxy is one of the more unique objects in the sky. The bright core of the galaxy has a prominent ring of dark material around it. This flat disk of material looks like a Mexican hat and therefore gives the galaxy its name—the Sombrero Galaxy.
There are several places in the sky that are unique and once you have spent some time at these locations you will never mistake them for anything else. Certainly one of these places is the Double Cluster in Perseus. Either of these clusters would be a Messier object all by itself, but to have them be just 30 arc minutes apart center to center is remarkable.
NGC 253 was discovered in 1783 by Caroline Herschel. She was searching for comets. When her nephew John took the “Large 20 foot” telescope to South Africa to complete the sweeps of the sky he wrote glowingly of this galaxy.
How many astronomy texts have had a shot of the North America Nebula included? How many brand new imaging rigs have been pointed at this amazing object? We may never know the answers to those questions, but we can say that this part of the sky have been observed, photographed and imaged for centuries.