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Markarian's Chain of Galaxies

Markarian's Chain consists of 8 bright galaxies that appear along a curving line on the border of the constellations Virgo and Coma Berenices. It was named after the Armenian astrophysicist, Benjamin Markarian, who discovered that at least seven of the galaxies are moving in the same direction at the same speed. These and dozens of other galaxies visible in the frame are part of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, which contains over a thousand galaxies. The Virgo Cluster's center is around 54 million light-years away.

The eight galaxies that make up the chain (see below) are: starting from the lower right, the two bright ellipticals M84 (NGC 4374) and M86 (NGC 4406); just below center, the pair of lenticulars NGC 4435 and NGC 4438; to the left of center, the paired elliptical NGC 4458 and spiral NGC 4461; and in the upper left corner, elliptical NGC 4473 and spiral NGC 4477.

208 minutes L and 216 minutes RGB (binned 2x2) on 2013-05-03 and 2013-05-12 using a QSI 583 from northern New Jersey through an Astro-Physics 105mm (4.1 inch) refractor at f6.2. North is up. 2013

Markarian's Chain of Galaxies Labeled

The above image with some of the galaxies' catalog numbers shown. On the full-resolution image, twice as many galaxies are visible as are shown labeled here.

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