Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Faint star streamers in the Virgo cluster

Most people throw out their overexposed photos. But a group of astronomers at Case Western Reserve University purposefully took some very long exposures of the Virgo Cluster, the closest large cluster of galaxies to us. The picture has revealed the faint stars that live in between the galaxies. Stars aren't normally found outside galaxies. Only collisions between galaxies can tear them free into streamers.

This first picture shows a normal view of the Virgo Cluster. The stream moving from the right and upwards to the left is Markarian's Chain, something I have personally observed in my telescope.

This new picture shows the new overexposed view, revealing the stars that have been cut loose from their parent galaxies during collisions and mergers.