Rare View of Markarian’s Chain Immersed in the Reddish Hydrogen Gas of Virgo Cluster


The image features a deep wide-field scene captured at 530mm and comprising 76,5h of total integration exposure (18,5h in RGB  + 58h in Ha), showing galaxies at a distance of 48 million light-years away from Earth, where lies the Virgo Cluster. This collection of galaxies located in the constellation of Virgo, forms the heart of the larger Virgo Supercluster from which the Local Group containing our own Milky Way galaxy, belongs. It’s also known that our own Milky Way galaxy has clouds of hydrogen gas within, lying between us and the Virgo cluster. The image shows more 833 galaxies visible and identified in the annotated version below, and immersed in some of these hydrogen-alpha clouds, while mixed with the clouds contained in the cluster itself. This region is also know as Markarian’s Chain, which includes the gigantic elliptical galaxy M87, the enormous elliptical galaxy M86 and M84, as well as the colorful galaxy M88. The image was captured from Dark Sky® Alqueva Official Observatory, in Portugal, over the course of 17 nights between February and May 2023.

PT: A imagem revela um campo amplo e profundo captado a 530 mm e que compreende 76,5h de exposição total de integração, mostrando galáxias a uma distância de 48 milhões de anos-luz da Terra, onde fica o Aglomerado de Virgem. Esta coleção de galáxias localizada na constelação de Virgem, forma o coração do maior superaglomerado de Virgem, do qual pertence o Grupo Local que contém a nossa própria galáxia, a Via Láctea. É sabido que a Via Láctea contém nuvens de gás hidrogénio, situadas entre nós e o aglomerado de Virgem. A imagem mostra 833 galáxias visíveis e identificadas na versão anotada abaixo, e imersas em algumas dessas nuvens de hidrogénio-alfa, misturadas com as nuvens contidas no próprio aglomerado. Esta região conhecida como a Cadeia de Markarian inclui a gigantesca galáxia elíptica M87, a enorme galáxia elíptica M86 e M84 , bem como alguma mais coloridas de onde se destaca a M88. A imagem foi captada a partir do Observatório Oficial Dark Sky® Alqueva, em Portugal, ao longo de 17 noites entre Fevereiro e Maio de 2023.


Above: A close-up view presented in landscape and portrait, intended to help conduct the reader attention to the most interesting parts of the image. Below: The annotated version produced with PixInsight script, based in several known catalogues to identify the main objects in the image like Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; ARP.

PT: Acima: Um crop da imagem apresentada numa versão de paisagem e retrato com o objetivo intencional de ajudar a conduzir a atenção do leitor para as partes mais interessantes da imagem. Em baixo, A versão legendada com anotação produzida pelo script do PixInsight baseado em vários catálogos reconhecidos, identificando assim os principais objectos visíveis na imagem como Messier; NGC-IC; PGC; ARP.

Technical details | Detalhes Técnicos

Taka FSQ-106ED at F5 – EM200 auto-guided in Asiair Pro| Nikon D850 modified | ISO3200 – Sub Exp. 5 min in RGB and Ha 7nm filter | Total integration of 76,5h (1110 minutes = 18,5h in RGB + 3468 minutes = 58h in Ha). The final image has 156 Millions of Pixels. Processing on PixInsight 1.8.9-1 and Photoshop CC 2023. Cumeada Observatory from Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal.


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