The Chain of Galaxies, also known as the Markarian Chain, is a striking arc of galaxies. Our photo shows at least 20 separate galaxies. These lie close to the heart of an enormous group of galaxies known as the Virgo Supercluster.
These galaxies are very distant which means they are all dim in our sky. The two brighter ones are M84 (mag. +9.02) and M86 (mag. +8.81). These are close to the limit of what can be viewed in binoculars but are moderate targets in a telescope. Some of the others can be viewed in a telescope, especially a larger one.
The Chain of Galaxies makes an exotic and challenging target for stargazers.
Viewing Chain of Galaxies
Mid-March through May
A dark, moonless site is essential. Find Vindemiatrix in Virgo.Look 9° (about one fist-width) west for the Chain. See the Virgo link below for more help.
The two brighter galaxies, M84 and M86, may be visible as small, dim smudges of light.
The brighter members of the chain, M84 and M86, can be viewed in a small telescope. The others may appear 'star-like' if at all. A larger telescope is needed to see additional galaxies. To help to see more, try drawing what you see.