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Virgo Galaxie Cluster

Optics Borg ED101 at f/5.7
Camera STL11000M
Filters Baader Luminance
Date Feb - May, 2011 and older data:
Feb - March 2009
Location Antares Observatory
Sky Conditions mag 5 sky
Exposure LRGB = 23.3,5.75,3.5,4 hours
total: 36h 35min
Programs used CCD Stack, Registar, Photoshop CS4

The image shows the central part of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster that contains about two thousand galaxies. The cluster, at about 50 million lightyeras distance, is the largest and the nearest galaxy cluster to our local group that is often also considered to lie on the fringes of the Virgo Cluster. An irregular distribution of the X-ray halo of the area also suggestes that the Virgo Cluster is an aggregate of at least three sub-clusters, centred around M87, M86, and M49. More on the interesting aspects of the Virgo Cluster can be found here.

While processing the data, a very faint nebula started to get visible. Initially I thought this was foreground dust which belongs to our galaxy. However, I was told to have a look at this publication: Diffuse Light In The Virgo Cluster. Therefore, it is belived that most of the visible nebula structures are due to the galaxy interactions, also called diffuse intracluster light (ICL). One example of such an ICL can for example also be seen in this image, clearly showing the extended tidal stream produced by the galaxy interaction.

A comparison with a deep ESO image showing many ICL-objects can be found here:

Virgo Cluster ESO Comparison

Virgo Cluster

click here for a 75% size 2960x1980 (2749KB)

Click on the images below to find a contrast enhanced Luminance image at 40 and 70% (left) and 100% crops of some prominent galaxies (right)

Virgo Deep Luminance Selected Galaxies

Here a labeled version (thanks to Sakib Rasool!): Virgo Labeled

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