It has a bright nucleus, an unusually large central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk. The dark dust lane and the bulge give this galaxy the appearance of a sombrero. Astronomers initially thought that the halo was small and light, indicative of a spiral galaxy. But Spitzer found that halo around the Sombrero Galaxy is larger and more massive than previously thought, indicative of a giant elliptical galaxy.
he galaxy has an apparent magnitude of +9.0, making it easily visible with amateur telescopes. The large bulge, the central supermassive black hole, and the dust lane all attract the attention of professional astronomers.
The Sombrero Galaxy is located 11.5° west of Spica and 5.5° northeast of Eta Corvi. Although the galaxy is visible with 7x35 binoculars or a 4-inch (100 mm) amateur telescope, an 8-inch (200 mm) telescope is needed to distinguish the bulge from the disk, and a 10 or 12-inch (300 mm) telescope is needed to see the dark dust lane.