Markarian's Chain & M87

Image information:

Date: 04/29/2017
Equipment: QSI583wsg with internal filter wheel and Astrodon E series Gen II LRGB filter set through AT65EDQ telescope on Losmandy GM8 mount.t
Image type: LRGB
Exposure time: 8X12min Luminance Binned 1X1, RG&B 8X12min each binned 2X2

Object information:

Object designations:

Markarian's Chain
Object type:
Group of galaxies
Object size:
138' X 106' (field dimensions)
Constellation: Virgo

Markarian's chain is a group of galaxies in the Virgo cluster. From our viewpoint they form a beautiful chain along a nice curved line. The chain got it's name after the Armenian astrophysicist, B. E. Markarian who discovered that at least 7 of the galaxies in the chain move together through space. Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435. M84 and M86 are huge elliptical galaxies. They are the most prominent, but featureless members of the chain. Also prominent in the Markarian's Chain are two interacting galaxies, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435 - also known as The Eyes (near the center of the image). NGC 4438, the larger galaxy, has a highly distorted disk and long tidal tails. Following the chain you can see the pair of galaxies NGC 4461 and NGC NGC 4458, then NGC 4473 and finally NGC4477. This collection of galaxies is some 50 Mly away from us.

Also visible in the image is M87, a large elliptical galaxy, which is not a member of the chain. It is one of the most massive galaxies in the local universe. The total mass of M87 may be more than 200 times that of the our Milky Way.

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