Markarian's Chain of Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster
Click image for larger version.
This is a small part of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies known as Markarian's Chain. The chain is named after B. E. Markarian, an Armenian Astrophysicist who discovered that many of these galaxies exhibit common motion. This means they are gravitationally bound to one another. At least seven of these galaxies exhibit this motion while others appear to be merely line of sight coincidences forming the smooth and beautiful curve of the chain. The prominent galaxies in this image are approximately 60 million light years distant so we are seeing these galaxies as they were 60 million years ago.
There are many more galaxies visible in this image and the entire cluster is comprised of approximately 1,300 separate galaxies; perhaps as many as 2,000 galaxies each with billions of stars.
The Virgo Cluster is a small part of the Virgo Supercluster which includes our Local Group; the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and other smaller galaxies. The super cluster contains perhaps as many as 100 galaxy groups and clusters and is only one of millions of superclusters in the observable universe.
Feeling small yet?
Location: 4Domes Observatory
Telescope: TMB130SS @ f/7
Camera: SBIG STL-6303E
Acquisition and Guiding: Maxim DL
Last Updated: 11/12/2014 - Copyright © 2004-2013 by Dan Lessmann. All rights reserved. Please click here for my usage policy.