At a distance from earth an estimated 50 million to 55 million light-years,
Markarian's Chain is a stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster. When viewed from Earth, the galaxies lie along a smoothly curved line. Charles Messier first discovered two of the galaxies, M84 and M86, in 1781. The other galaxies seen in the chain were discovered by William Herschel. and are now known primarily by their catalog numbers in John Louis Emil Dreyer's New General Catalogue, published in 1888. It was ultimately named after the Armenian astrophysicist, Benjamin Markarian, who discovered their common motion in the early 1960s. Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435.
Photographer: Chris Davis