Galaxies & Star Clusters - Barry Wilson
M84, M86 and The Eyes

M84, M86 and The Eyes

Markarian's Chain is a stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster. It is called a chain because, when viewed from Earth, the galaxies lie along a smoothly curved line. It was named after the Armenian astrophysicist, B. E. Markarian, who discovered their common motion in the early 1960s.  This image contains a portion of the chain of galaxies, particularly the two lenticular galaxies Messiers 84 and 86.

Messier 86 (also known as M86 or NGC 4406) is an elliptical or lenticular galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781. M86 lies in the heart of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies and forms a most conspicuous group with another giant, Lenticular Galaxy M84. It displays the highest blue shift of all Messier objects, as it is approaching the Milky Way at 244 km/s. This is due to its falling towards the center of the Virgo cluster from the opposite side, which causes it to move in the direction of the Milky Way. Messier 86 is linked by several filaments of ionized gas to the severely disrupted spiral galaxy NGC 4438 and shows some gas and interstellar dust that may have been stripped, as well as the gas on those filaments, of it. It is suffering ram-pressure stripping as it moves at high speed through Virgo's intracluster medium, losing its interstellar medium as it moves through it leaving behind a very long trail of hot gas. Messier 86 has a rich system of globular clusters, with a total number of around 3,800. Its halo also has a number of stellar streams interpreted as remmants of dwarf galaxies that have been disrupted and absorbed by this galaxy.

The Eyes Galaxies (NGC 4435-NGC 4438, also known as Arp 120) are a pair of galaxies about 52 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. This galaxy takes its name from its ring structure which made it popular (source Wikipedia).

This LRGB image comprises 3hrs of Luminance 18 x 600s and 10 x 300s sub-frames each of Red, Green and Blue, 5.5 hrs total integration.  Astrodon LRGB filters. Taken using a William Optics FLT132 at F5.6.