Click here for a high resolution image of M 86 and The Eyes (758 Kb)



The Details
M 86 and The Eyes - Virgo Cluster
Astro-Physics 160 EDF refractor at f/7.5
Astro-Physics 1200 GTO
Tru-Balance LRGB filter set
21 October 2006
Anza Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County CA
L 12 x 300 sec 1x1 bin; RGB 4 x 300 sec, 2x2 bin
Maxim DL/CCD, Registar, Photoshop CS2
Field of View: 38'33" x 27'19" centered on RA 12h26m49s
DEC+12°55’47” (2000.0) . North angle 174.1 °; east 90° CCW from north

This portion of the Virgo Cluster features one of the dominant giants of that grouping, the elliptical galaxy M 86 shown left center in the above frame. Composed of nearly 2000 individual galaxies, the Virgo cluster is the physical center of the Local Supercluster and influences all of the galaxies and groupings in this region of space by virtue of its enormous mass. Juxtaposed against the general expansion of the Universe, the gravitational effects of the Virgo Cluster dictate the course of our Local Group of galaxies by drawing us towards it with an eventual merger likely at some distant point in the future. Because of its sheer mass, local effects within the Virgo Cluster accelerate some of its members to oddly high velocities with respect to its center of mass. That creates a situation whereby certain of its galaxies are actually blue shifted, or in approach to the Milky Way galaxy. An example of this is the elliptical M 86, which has an approach velocity of about 420 km/sec, making it one of the highest blue shifts of any Messier object.

Major galaxies in the above image include NGC 4387, elliptical galaxy at 10 o’clock from M 86; NGC 4425, lenticular galaxy at upper center of frame; NGC 4402, a disturbed spiral galaxy below M 86; and the beautiful pairing of NGC 4435 and 4438 (aka The Eyes) in the right lower quadrant of the image.




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