The heart of the Virgo cluster

The cluster of galaxies in Virgo is one of the nearest rich clusters of galaxies. As in most such clusters, the major galaxies are ellipticals. This photograph shows the extent of M84 and M86 in the densest part of the Virgo cluster and extends to a surface brightness of about 28 B magnitudes per square arcsecond, or about 200 times fainter than the Siding Spring night sky.

This negative image was made by combining several photographically amplified UK Schmidt plates and also shows many faint dwarf galaxies and unexpected faint extensions of many of the brighter galaxies. A (not so deep) colour photograph also exists. Original plates from the UK Schmidt Telescope