Hubblecast 115 Light: Triangulum Galaxy in unrivalled detail

James Marshall
January 8, 2019

The image is comprised of 665 million pixels and was created from 54 different images, a view in space so large that it spans "an area more than 19,000 light-years across". Wide-field view of the Triangulum Galaxy showing the extent of the survey is shown above.

The massive mosaic image of the Triangulum galaxy (M33) was released on January 7 and shows one of dozens of our celestial neighbours in our suburb of the universe known as 'the Local Group'. It measures only about 60 000 light-years across, compared to the 200 000 light-years of the Andromeda Galaxy; the Milky Way lies between these extremes at about 100 000 light-years in diameter.

"Under excellent dark-sky conditions, the Triangulum Galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a faint, blurry object in the constellation of Triangulum (the Triangle), where its ethereal glow is an exciting target for amateur astronomers", Hubble added on its website.

The near-perfect distribution of stars within Triangulum has led researchers to believe that the galaxy has somehow avoided any major intergalactic collisions and has remained relatively untouched for aeons. According to NASA and ESA, the image contains nearly 25 million individually resolved stars, and you could spend a lifetime verifying whether or not that's true. If it were oriented with its side facing us we'd have a much harder time picking out the millions of individual stars that make up its spiral shape.

The extremely bright blue region visible in the top-left hand corner is a solar nursery contained within a nebula of hot, ionised hydrogen gas, where stars are born. Striking areas of star birth glow bright blue throughout the galaxy, particularly in attractive nebulas of hot, ionized hydrogen gas like star-forming region NGC 604 in the upper left.

This image is only a tiny part of the large wide-field image of the Triangulum Galaxy created by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Many other Hubblecast episodes are also available.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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