Deep Sky Photography with digital cameras

CCD Astrophotography by Jürgen Stein

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Markarian's Chain and M87

Markarian's Chain and M87

Markarian's Chain consists of 8 bright galaxies, 7 of them are visible on the image. Starting from lower right the ellipticals M84 and M86 are the brightest galaxies of the chain. NGC4435 and NGC4438 form a close pair of interacting galaxies. The Eyes Galaxy NGC4438 is one of the most interesting galaxies in the Virgo cluster. The second pair consists of NGC4461 and NGC4468. NGC4473 is in the upper left corner. NGC4477 is just outside of the image. In addition to the galaxies of Markarian’s chain, M87 is also visible in the lower left corner. This galaxy is the largest galaxy of the Virgo Cluster and also its center of gravity. Its mass is about 2.7 trillion suns and its diameter is 130,000 light-years. It is surrounded by thousands of globular clusters; the brightest of them can be seen in the image. M87 and the Virgo Cluster is about 50 million light-years apart. Additional to the bright objects described above many medium-sized galaxies are visible surrounding the chain. Some show structures like spiral arms or dust lanes. Many of them are small spiral or irregular shaped dwarf galaxies belonging to the Virgo cluster, some are much closer to earth and some are located far in the background. Numerous faint diffuse spots indicate remote galaxies in the background.

Image is reduced by 50% of the original size to place it in the gallery.

Image orientation: North is on top.

Exposure Data:

Date:14.+15.+17.+18.+19.+20.+21.+22.+23.04.2015
Telescope: Newtonian 250mm @ f/4.8 on Mesu 200 mount.
Camera: MI G2-8300FR @ -25°C.
Exposure: Mosaic consisting of 4 frames, LRGB. Total number of exposures: Luminance - 200x300s, not binned; RGB 70 / 53 / 69 x 300, 2x2 binned . Total exposure time: 32h40m.
Location: Rhein-Main area, Germany.
Processing: Photoshop, Pixinsight.