Counting Galaxies in Virgo & Coma Berenices

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The Galaxies in Virgo and Coma Berenices are found in an area of the sky well away from the stars and gas cloud "pollution" of our own Milky Way, so I decided to see just how many galaxies I could pick up with a relatively small refractor ( Borg 100mm) working at F4. It turned out to be over 100!

The 6x7 frame was scanned at 2000 dpi but was cropped on one side due to a light leak and reduced to an equivalent of a 1000 dpi scan (final size is 2461x2098 pixels) so that it is a reasonable size for the web. It was also turned into a monochrome negative to make it easiest to see the small smudges that are distant galaxies. The identifications that were added are based on the Millennium Star Atlas, which turns out to be just about perfect for this small scope. Almost all of the galaxies plotted in that atlas can be seen on the photograph (though many more stars are shown on the photograph than the atlas).

Click on the small version shown below to look at the full 1000 dpi version. If you don't want to download the whole thing, the blowup shown at the bottom of this page is of the center part of the frame at 1000 dpi scan resolution. This area is known as Markarian's Chain.

  Technical info:

Exposure was 45 minutes on unhypered Kodak PPF400 (120 format). A Planet Town 6x7 format astro camera with vacuum film holder was attached to a Borg 100mm refractor at F4, and autoguided with an SBIG STV attached to a Borg 76MM refractor.


Click on the photo above to see details (~1.5MB)


A closeup of the center area of the frame is shown here. The long curving arc of galaxies including M84 and M86 is known as Markarian's Chain.

Copyright 2000 by David A. Kodama, All Rights Reserved