Every time I see these objects, I have an uncontrollable urge to sing “These Eyes” by the Guess Who. I blame 12 years of working in classic rock radio…
NGC 4435 & NGC 4438 are two interacting galaxies in the Virgo Cluster, collectively known as “The Eyes” Galaxies. They’re also near the center of the Markarian’s Chain of galaxies, and giant elliptical galaxy M86 (to the left in the photo above) has been discovered to be gravitationally linked to the two.
A recent near miss by the smaller of the two several million years ago explains the filaments of gas that flow between the two Eyes. The interaction has also caused a large dust lane to form near the core of NGC 4435, signaling new star formation.
Capture & Processing of The Eyes
Markarian’s Chain is a large set of galaxies in the southern skies, at their highest just after midnight at the moment.
Integration: 1.0 hours
Avg. Moon age: 28.98 days
Avg. Moon phase: 0.34%
Astrometry.net job: 3448270
RA center: 12h 27′ 37″
DEC center: +13° 1′ 22″
Pixel scale: 0.718 arcsec/pixel
Orientation: 203.623 degrees
Field radius: 0.487 degrees
Even with only an hour worth of data, I was able to get fainter details than I expected from The Eyes. I feel more comfortable with the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop to play with colour, rather than the ham-fisted approach I was using the colour balance tool. Less blues in the background and less yellow in my targets (although all of these galaxies are naturally quite red/yellowish).