Markarian’s Chain is a string of galaxies located towards the centre of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, and is a favourite of those who love a spot of deep-sky astronomy because the whole galactic chain can be neatly observed within a single field of view.
Markarian’s Chain contains at least 7 different galaxy members that appear to move coherently: notably 2 huge, bright lenticular galaxies known as M84 and M86 (both members of the famous Messier Catalogue of deep-sky objects).
The Chain also contains a duo of interacting galaxies often referred to as Markarian’s Eyes: NGC 4435 and NGC 4438.
The Virgo Cluster is a galaxy cluster that contains up to 2,000 galaxies and is gravitationally interacting with our own Local Group of galaxies. Its centre is about 70 million lightyears from Earth towards the Virgo constellation.
Below are some of the best images of Markarian’s Chain sent to us by readers of BBC Sky at Night Magazine and astrophotographers around the world.
For more on capturing images of the cosmos, read our beginners’ astrophotography tutorial or browse all of our astrophotography guides.
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Markarian’s Chain by Mark Casto, Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Evostar ED80, EQ5 mount unguided, Canon 350D Modded
Markarian’s Chain by Bob Franke, Chino Valley, AZ, USA. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ-106ED, SBIG STF-8300 camera using Baader filters.
Markarian’s Chain by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Nikon D7000 DSLR through a TS 65mm refractor, mounted on an EQ6.
Makarian’s Chain in Virgo by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P newtonian on an EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
Makarian’s Chain in Virgo (Annotated) by Bill McSorley, Leeds, UK. Equipment: SW 150P on an EQ5 GoTo Mount, QHY8L cooled ccd camera.
Makarian’s Chain by Jean M Dean, Guernsey, Channel Islands. Equipment: Canon 5d MKII DSLR, William Optics FLT132, Skywatcher AZ EQ6 GT, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, Borg Mini-Guider.
Markarian’s Chain in LRGB by Haim Huli, Kibutz Ramat Hakovesh, Israel. Equipment: ASA Astrograph 12″, ASA DDM85, LI 8300 Mono, Astrodon.
Markarian’s Chain of Galaxies by Gerard Tartalo Montardit, Lleida, Spain. Equipment: Canon EOS 600D modified, Skywatcher 150/750 pds, Skywatcher neq6 pro2. Guided with Phd2, zwo camera so 290mc and Celestron 130/650.