Explore the Virgo galaxy cluster: This Week in Astronomy with Dave Eicher

Spring is a season ripe for observing galaxies — and there’s no better place to start than the Virgo galaxy cluster.
By | Published: April 15, 2024

Spring has sprung — and for lovers of deep-sky objects, that means it’s galaxy season. This is a time of the year when that pesky, band of glowing stars and shadowy dust that we call the Milky Way is mostly out of view in the evening sky, allowing us to look out of the disk of our galaxy and into the deep universe beyond.

If you want to dive headlong into the vast cosmos, there’s no better place to start than the Virgo galaxy cluster, which lies roughly 54 million light-years away. This concentration contains all types of galaxies, from ellipticals to barred spirals and many peculiar galaxies.

The core galaxies of the cluster lie in a group that forms the backbone of Markarian’s Chain. This is where you’ll find the Messier objects M84 and M86, with M87 nearby. From there, you can branch out and explore dozens of galaxies with binoculars or your Celestron telescope.

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