Markarian Chain and Virgo Galaxy

The Markarian Chain is a group of galaxies in the Virgo galaxy cluster. The association is named after the Armenien astrophysicist Benjamin Markarian who studied them in the 1970s.


Markarian Chain and Virgo Galaxy, telescope Skopos f=560x0,8=448mm @f/5.6, Camera Atik 460EXM, 14/26/24/46x300s LRGB


Markarian Chain in constellation Virgo in Virgo supercluster, Refractor Scopos, f=453mm, f/5.6, L: 142x300s_R: 30x300s G: 26x300s B: 31x300s, Atik460EXm, 2020, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Members of the group of the Markarian Chain are the galaxies M84 (NGC4374) [54 Mio. light year distance / light travel time], M 86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4435, NGC 4438, NGC 4461, NGC 4473 and NGC 4477. Some count NGC 4458 as a member. In those image which were obtained by DSLR contain a technical error occured when the flat field correction frames were taken. This yields some artifacts from dust or droplet contamination of the optics and vignetting.


Markarian Chain and Virgo Galaxy with Annotationen

In the bottom left quarte of the image the galaxy M87 can be seen which is also known at "The Virgo Galaxy". It is a huge elliptical galaxy. It is actively emitting in the radio domain to the x-ray domain. The mass of M87 within a radius of 100,000 light years is estimated to be 2-3 trillion (2-3 * 10^12) solar masses. On April 10th 2019 it was confirmed, that a black hole of 6.5 billion solar masse is sitting in the centre of M87 (for comparison: the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is estimated to have 4.15 million solar masses).

The black hole is considered as the centre of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) of M87. A jet extends from the centre 5.000 light years in radial direction, which is observable at various wave lengths. It consists of elements accelerated and ejected at relativistic speeds. In the image cutout below this jet can be seen as a tiny spot at roughly two o'clock.


M87 Coutout with jet