Hubblecast 115 Light: Triangulum Galaxy in unrivalled detail


The Triangulum Galaxy, which is also known as Messier 33 or NGC 598, is only three million light-years away and one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye.

It's our neighbor in a collection of dozens of galaxies called the Local Group, and was captured in unprecedented detail in image consisting of 54 Hubble fields of view stitched together, revealing almost 25 million individually resolved stars.

While it is possible to observe the Triangulum Galaxy under excellent dark-sky conditions, the human eye will only see it as a faint, blurry object with an ethereal glow in the Triangulum (the Triangle) constellation. It is the group's third-largest galaxy, but also the smallest spiral galaxy in the group. Its diameter is only 60 thousand light years in comparison with 200 thousand the galaxy Andromeda or 100 thousand the milky Way.

Daniel Weisz, an assistant professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley, was honored at this week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society for his early-career research on relatively nearby "dwarf" galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. However, the detailed image released by the Hubble telescope clearly reveals the central region of the Triangulum Galaxy and its inner spiral arms. Some 1500 light-years across, this is one of the largest, brightest concentrations of ionized hydrogen (H II) in our Local Group of galaxies, and it is a major center of star formation. "Combined with those of the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the irregular Magellanic Cloud galaxies, they will help astronomers to better understand star formation and stellar evolution".

You can check out the whole 1.6GB, full-sized image through the European Space Agency's Hubble site.

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Most notably, Triangulum's star formation is 10 times more intense than in the comparable Hubble panorama of the neighboring Andromeda.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured an incredibly detailed image of the Triangulum Galaxy.

Triangulum Galaxy is also characterised by a huge amount of dust and gas and dust, which enables it to form stars at a rapid rate - about one solar mass in every two years.

Still, Messier 33 remains an important find, its abundance of gas clouds drawing astronomers to conduct this detailed analysis. The new image from Hubble shows two of the four brightest regions of Triangulum.

Many other Hubblecast episodes are also available.