A stretch of gravitationally interacting galaxies forming part of the Virgo cluster, Markarian’s Chain includes M86 (the large elliptical galaxy in the center-right of the shot, the central galaxy of the Virgo cluster) and further to the left in the shot the galaxy pair NGC 4453 & NGC 4438, known as the ‘Eyes Galaxies’ for easily apparent reasons. Unfortunately not a part of the sky that I can shoot from my own yard. Had to spend the night out at the observatory in order to get this shot (where a maliciously placed & scheduled sprinkler nearly ruined my gear).

While I was only able to get around 4 hours of integration time on this cluster (further complicated by a light leak in my focuser that I had to work to process out), still pretty pleased with the result. I’m sure that more time would fix up the noise in the outer parts of the galaxies, but that will need to wait as I was already pushing things with how low to the horizon Virgo was in May. When I do revisit this part of the sky, I plan to spend a lot more time on it and do a larger mosaic of the Virgo cluster of galaxies.

Markarian’s Chain - Full Size