M84 and M86
 elliptical galaxies
in Virgo

10.1'' reflector  96 x

M84 and M86 were discovered by Charles Messier on March 18, 1781. M84 is west (left side of sketch) of M86. M84 appears smaller and more condensed than M86; if M84 has any elongation, it appears to take it in the east-west direction, but only slightly. Size is approximately 3' by 2.5', magnitude 9.1. M86 appears larger than M84, slight mottling and more diffuse. M86 appears to be about 4.5' by 3.5' in size, it is listed as magnitude 8.9. A nice pairing of elliptical galaxies.

Slightly to the east could see two smaller fuzzy patches (just off the lower-right side of the field of view in the sketch above). The uppermost one is NGC 4438, a 10.2 magnitude spiral measuring about 1.5', and the lower one is NGC 4435, a 10.8 magnitude spiral about 1' across.

These galaxies lie close to the core of the Coma-Virgo supercluster of galaxies, about 65 million light years away. It's amazing to think that the light we see from these galaxies today left around the time the dinosaurs went extinct during the Yucatan impact.

North at 6 o'clock, East at 3 o'clock