Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Remote worlds in the Markarian's Chain background

Here we have: Markarian's Chain of galaxies. Starting from top left we have two small galaxies NGC4458 and 4461, then Eyes Galaxies NGC4438-4435, and then giant elliptical galaxies M86 and M84 surrounded by few other large ones. All these galaxies are in the core part of Virgo Galaxy Cluster - about 60 million light years away. Messier 86 is the largest galaxy in the frame. This elliptical giant is moving towards us at speed 244km/s. This galaxy is linked with several filaments of ionized gas with galaxy NGC4438. Since it moves fast through intercluster medium it leaves behind a long trail of hot gas. Teh M86 galaxy has numerous globular clusters - there are about 3800 known ones. 
Messier 84 is another big elliptical galaxy in the frame. This one is about 8 million light years more distant than M86 and is moving away from us at speed over 1000km/s. Radio and HST observations of M84 indicates presence of supermassive black hole inside (its mass is estimated for 1.5 billion of solar masses).
The Eyes Galaxies (little above and to the left from frame center) are NGC4435-4438. This formation is also known as Arp 120. They are about 52 million light years away. The smaller one is NGC4435 - it has relatively young (about 190 million years) stellar population on its central regions whose origin may be the interaction with NGC4438. This latter one is the most curious interacting galaxy in the Vigro cluster. The mechanism that heats its nuclear source is uncertain. It can be a starburst region, or a black hole. This galaxy shows distorted disk with long tidal tails due to interactions with local galaxies. 
There are also plase for very remote object in this picture. Among Markarian's Chain galaxies you can easily spot many other medium sized objects placed a few hundred million light years away. But I managed to identify (using SDSS) one that is 4.4 billion light years away (redshift z=0.391) and another one 5.1 billion light years away (z=0.482) that you can identify below. Both are galaxies, not spectacular at this picture, but they are not expected to be spectacular at amateur pictures anyway :)

Clear skies!

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