The Eyes Galaxies


The Eyes Galaxies (NGC 4435-NGC 4438, also known as Arp 120) are a pair of galaxies about 52 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. NGC 4438 (left center) is the most curious interacting galaxy in the Virgo Cluster, due to the uncertainty surrounding the energy mechanism that heats the nuclear source; this energy mechanism may be a starburst region, or a Black Hole powered active galactic nucleus (AGN). Both of the hypotheses are still being investigated. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that the environmental damage to the interstellar medium of NGC 4438 may have been caused by an encounter (off-center collision) with NGC 4435, millions of years ago.

This image was taken April 19-24, 2012 and is a 13 hour exposure.  You can see many other galaxies scattered throughout the field of view. M86 is the fuzzy area in the lower right. NGC4402 is the spiral galaxy just above it. The galaxies are small in this image, so be sure to click on it to see it enlarged in your browser.

All images © Mel Martin 2017     Contact Me