Virgo Galaxy Cluster

Below is a widefield image of part of the constellation Virgo.

virgocwide-140208-asinh1-a2  Click on image for a larger view …

Camera
Optics
Focal Length
Focal Ratio
ISO
Autoguiding?
Subs
Total Exposure
Canon 40D (unmodified)
Canon 70-200L IS
200mm
f2.8
800
Yes
23 x 2.5mins
57.5 minutes

Amongst the many stars in the image, there are a significant number of galaxies. If you would like to go galaxy hunting for yourself, then click here. You’ll be able to zoom into a larger version of the above image & pan around, looking for galaxies. Tip: don’t miss the little spiral galaxy that’s up towards the top left corner.

Galaxies often fall into groups. Our own Milky Way & Andromeda are the 2 largest member galaxies of our local group. But groups of galaxies are often collected within a Supercluster. Our local Supercluster, of which our group is an outlying member, is dominated by the galaxies of the Virgo Cluster. The Virgo cluster contains a possible 2000 galaxies lying almost 60 million light years away from Earth. The Messier catalogue includes several of these galaxies, M86 & M84 are to be seen just right of centre in the image above, with others such as M91, M90 & M89 lying further out.

For those of you wanting a closer look than that afforded by a 200mm lens, click on the picture below, imaged at 700mm:

virgoc-130208-bin2-asinh1-a5-2   Click on image for a larger view …

Camera
Optics
Focal Length
Focal Ratio
ISO
Autoguiding?
Subs
Total Exposure
Canon 40D (unmodified)
Canon 500L IS + 1.4 extender
700mm
f5.6
1250
Yes
48 x 3mins
2hours 24 minutes

This image shows more detail from the centre of the 200mm field, with M86 & M84 at the top right & M87 in the bottom left. This region is often referred to as “The Makarian Chain” and includes the classic interacting “eyes galaxies” (top centre).

virgoc-130208-bin2-asinh1-a3-2 Click on image for a larger view …

Above: a crop of the interacting “Eyes Galaxies”.

To view (and download if you wish) a fully labelled photomap of the region, with magnitude data, click here.

Alternatively for a nice map of the whole region, try visiting Atlas of the Universe.

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