Messier 86 (M86) is an elliptical or lenticular galaxy located in the Virgo Cluster, in the southern constellation Virgo.
The galaxy lies at a distance of 52 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 9.8. Its designation in the New General Catalogue is NGC 4406.
The galaxy can be seen in 10×50 binoculars under good conditions, but only appears as a faint patch of light.
Small and medium-sized telescopes show an oval-shaped patch with a brighter centre, while larger instruments provide a better view of the galaxy’s halo. 8-inch telescopes will reveal several fainter galaxies in the same field of view on a clear night.
Facts about M86 by Keith Turnecliff
Messier 86 is a member of Markarian’s Chain, a chain of galaxies that also includes Messier 84, NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435. These galaxies appear arranged in a curved line when seen from Earth.
The best time of year to observe the galaxies is during the spring.