The Markarian Chain

Markarian’s Chain is a stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster. It is called a chain because, when viewed from Earth, the galaxies lie along a smoothly curved line. It was named after the Armenian astrophysicist, Benjamin E. Markarian, who discovered their common motion in the early 1960s.

The galaxies are said to be in a smooth, curved line making them appear to be connected in a chain. Located about 70 million light-years away, the Virgo cluster is a large collection of some 2,000 galaxies that dominate our part of the universe. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Credit: Larry Van Vleet

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