Markarian's Chain (NGC 4374)

Markarian's Chain
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here for a higher resolution image.
Please click here for the highest resolution image (large file).
Negative image:  Please click here.

Magnitude:  Variable (ranges from 9 to 15, depending upon galaxy)
Size: Approximately 3 degrees
Distance: At least 70 million light years
RA: 12h 25m 06s
Dec: 12 degrees 53' 00"

Markarian's chain was named after an Armenian astronomer in the 1970s and represents a beautiful stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster.  Our own Local Group of galaxies (Milky Way, large and small Magellenic Clouds, M31, M32, M100, M33) is currently receding from the Virgo Cluster at a rate of about 1000 km/second.  However, it is anticipated that our Local Group will eventually stop receding from the Virgo Cluster and will ultimately accelerate towards this region (gravity from the Virgo Cluster influences us even at distances of 70 million light years).  M84 and M86 are the 2 large elliptical galaxies on the right (from right to left).  M88 is the prominent spiral galaxy on the upper left.  The most dominant galaxy in this region is M87, which is out of the field of view to the lower left.  Click on the highest resolution link to find many of the smaller galaxies in this region.  Also click on the negative image to detect the many fainter galaxies more easily.

Photographic Details:

Date:  December 26, 2003
Scope:  Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, piggybacked on LX90 (which is mounted on a Meade Superwedge).
Autoguider:  STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Canon 10D.
Filter:  IDAS LPS.
Exposures:  16 x 4' at ISO 1600.
Conditions:  Temperature 30 degrees F; average transparency; average seeing; dry; somewhat breezy (I needed to exclude about 20% of shots due to the wind).
Raw conversion, adaptive dark frame calibration, alignment, adaptive addition averaging done in ImagesPlus; Levels, curves, and layer mask adjustments in Photoshop; mild smoothing using Pleiades SGBNR software.

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