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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

A wide-field skyscape of the Virgo cluster of galaxies

24 Aug 2017, 14:22 UTC
A wide-field skyscape of the Virgo cluster of galaxies
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Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors) and APOD where an annotated version of this image is available. This colorful and broad telescopic mosaic links Markarian’s Chain of galaxies across the core of the Virgo Cluster to dusty spiral galaxy Messier 64. Galaxies are scattered through the field of view that spans some 20 full moons across a gorgeous night sky. The cosmic frame is also filled with foreground stars from constellations Virgo and Coma Berenices, and faint, dusty nebulae drifting above the plane of the Milky Way. Look carefully for Markarian’s eyes. The famous pair of interacting galaxies is near the top, not far from M87, the Virgo cluster’s giant elliptical galaxy. Toward bottom left is Messier 64, also known as the Black Eye Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is the closest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group. Virgo Cluster galaxies are about 50 million light-years distant, but M64 lies a mere 17 million light-years away.

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