On the Edge: Skywatchers Snap Photo of Slender 'Little Sombrero' Galaxy
NGC 7814 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Pegasus about 40 million light-years away.
Credit: Bob and Janice Fera

The slender beam of light in this photo is the galaxy NGC 7814, which is also known as the "Little Sombrero." This image was taken by astrophotographers Bob and Janice Fera from their observatory in Eagle Ridge, Calif., in October 2011.

NGC 7814 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Pegasus about 40 million light-years away. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

NGC 7814 is affectionately known as "The Little Sombrero" because it looks like a smaller version of the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104. 

Spiral galaxies appear flat and thin with most of their interstellar dust packed into a disc. A thicker line of dust forms the dark band in the middle and absorbs light. From Earth, NGC 7814 looks like a compact disc on its edge.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

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