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Contains:  M 88, NGC 4501, M 87, NGC 4486, NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4459, NGC 4438, The Eyes, NGC 4435, NGC 4425, NGC 4413, M 86, NGC 4406, NGC 4402, NGC 4388, M 84, NGC 4374
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Markarian's Chain POSS-II / Terry Hancock Combo , 


            Tom Masterson
Markarian's Chain POSS-II / Terry Hancock Combo

Markarian's Chain POSS-II / Terry Hancock Combo

Technical card

Resolution: 5972x5202 job: 832691

RA center: 187.116 degrees

DEC center: 13.304 degrees

Pixel scale: 1.360 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 86.182 degrees

Field radius: 1.495 degrees


This is a combination of 66 blue and red 1 degree panels from POSS-II by way of the DSS library and 1.5 hours of data using a Takahashi E-180 and QHY11s captured by Terry Hancock at his backyard observatory in Fremont, MI from 2014. This image was processed by Terry Hancock and me (Tom Masterson)

In this particular field of view there are countless galaxies that are easily identifiable with many others that appear faintly if you zoom in. The most distinguishable feature is the chain of galaxies from top right curving left called Markarian's Chain. This formation of galaxies in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster get their name from the Armenian astrophysicist, B. E. Markarian. While observing these galaxies he noticed that many share a common motion, meaning that they are gravitationally interacting not just in the same field of view due to our perspective.

In the years since Markarian's discovery much has come out about these particular galaxies. One new finding was from a study completed in 2005 which determined that M86, the bright elliptical or lenticular galaxy which appears circled by a number of galaxies in the top right of this image, was found to be the most blue shifted object in the messier catalog. When an object is 'blue shifted' that means that it is moving towards the observer (us on earth;). M86 is being pulled into the common center of gravity that it shares with other galaxies in this image, that direction happens to be directly towards us at 244 km/s. (credit:

This image also contains a bit of interesting pop culture from the recent movie Interstellar. The name of the blue deformed looking galaxy toward the center of this image, NGC 4438, appears in Murphy Cooper's notebook towards the climax of the movie leaving some to believe that the supermassive black hole, Gargantua, is based on the one at the center of NGC 4438.

Here's a link to Terry's original image:

Some details on Markarian's Chain:'s_Chain


The Eyes Galaxies (NGC 4438 / NGC 4435):

Technical info:

POSS-II data:

66x 1° Blue plates
66x 1° Red plates

Terry's data:

Location: DownUnder Observatory, Fremont MI
Date of Shoot: April 6th 2014
RGB 72 min 6 x 4 min ea, bin 1x1
Luminance 24 min 6 x 4 min, bin 1x1

QHY11S monochrome CCD cooled to -20C
Takahashi E-180 F2.8 Astrograph
Paramount GT-1100S German Equatorial Mount
Image Acquisition Maxim DL
Stacking and Calibrating: CCDStack
Registration of images in Registar
Post Processing Photoshop CS5



Tom Masterson
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons

Sky plot

Sky plot


Markarian's Chain POSS-II / Terry Hancock Combo , 


            Tom Masterson