National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Active Galaxy NGC 4388


Active Galaxy NGC 4388

NGC 4388 is a galaxy located in the direction of the constellation Virgo. It belongs to the Virgo Cluster, which is about 59 million light years away from our Milky Way Galaxy. The axis of our galaxy points in roughly the direction between the constellation Virgo and the constellation Comae Berenices. This is known as a region of the heavens where numerous galaxies can be observed. The many galaxies lying along a smoothly curved line known as “Markarian’s Chain” are located in this area. NGC 4388 is to the south of M86 and M84; a little way away from the galaxies included in Markarian’s Chain. NGC 4388’s luminosity is about 11th magnitude, so it is difficult to spot, even with the large aperture telescope.

Giant Gas Clouds Extending Around the galaxy

Among spiral galaxies, NGC 4388 is classified as an active galaxy that emits huge amounts of energy from its active galactic nucleus. It was already known that ionized hydrogen gas clouds are being emitted from the core of NGC 4388, extending out to 10,000 light-years. However, Suprime-Cam on the Subaru Telescope discovered that these ionized hydrogen gas clouds spread out even further, reaching up to 110,000 light-years away. The gas clouds shown in purple and red, extending from the center of the galaxy to the upper left, were newly discovered by the Subaru Telescope.

Text by: Tomoko Ono (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)
Translation by: Hiroko Tsuzuki and Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Image Data

ObjectNGC 4388
TelescopeThe Subaru Telescope
Wavelength[OIII] narrow line filter (500 nanometers: blue), V (550 nanometers: green), Hα line (660 nanometers: red) false color image
Exposure60 minutes ([OIII] narrow line filter), 15 minutes (V), and 160 minutes (Hα)
DateMarch 24, 2001; April 24, 2001; and April 26, 2001 (UT)
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


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