Coma-Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies

March 03, 2016


Photographer: Greg Parker
Summary Authors: Greg Parker; Jim Foster

As we enter the spring season (for the Northern Hemisphere) the constellations carrying the densest clusters of galaxies, such as Virgo and Coma Berenices, are much easier to view. The two images above show both a color (at left) and a black and white mosaic of the Coma-Virgo supercluster of galaxies. In total, 13 Messier objects (all galaxies) are shown in this image. Can you spot them all? It's easier to recognize them on the negative image (at right).

This enormous supercluster, only a small portion of which is captured on the image, contains approximately 2,000 galaxies. Their huge mass, despite being some 300 million light-years away from us, gravitationally attracts our Local Group of galaxies, which of course includes our own Milky Way. Note that at the center of the image is the Markarian Chain of galaxies.

Photo Details: Image taken using a Canon 200mm lens and a M26C 10-megapixel one shot color astronomical CCD camera. Each frame is around 5-hours total exposure, using 15-minute sub-exposures.