This is a three part series from Star Hopping that explores the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, better know as “The Realm of the Galaxies.” This guide takes you on a tour of the Realm, skips along Markarian’s Chain, gives specific star hopping location methods to find many galactic targets, and keep you from getting lost in this busy area of the night sky.
From the Guide:
“Well, the time has finally arrived for us to begin our exploration of the Realm of the Galaxies, a galactic supercluster containing around 1500 galaxy members. The Realm lies between the constellations of Leo, Coma Berenices, and Virgo, and can be found halfway between the two bright stars Denebola in Leo, and Vindemiatrix in Virgo.
Between those two stars, however, lies a significant lack of bright stars, so navigation can be difficult. Our guide stars in these hops are all around 6th magnitude, so a large finderscope on your telescope will be a very useful accessory over the next few weeks. This is one of the most difficult areas in the sky for newer amateur astronomers because there are few stars and many of the galaxies look the same in the eyepiece.
The best way of attacking this challenge is to methodically hop through the main chain of galaxies, and identify each one positionally as you move along. Along the chain of galaxies there are targets that visually stand out, so you can use those to chart your progress….“
If you are serious about conquering this complicated area of the night sky, pick up this digital guide.