Science 2 min read

Check out Hubble's Stunning Photo of the Triangulum Galaxy

Hubble Captures 665-Megapixel Photo of the Triangulum Galaxy | HubbleSite.Org

Hubble Captures 665-Megapixel Photo of the Triangulum Galaxy | HubbleSite.Org

About 3 million light-years from Earth, in the northern constellation of Triangulum, one of the most distant celestial object visible to the naked eyes sits – the Triangulum Galaxy. This spiral star system, known as M33 or NGC 598, is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, just behind our Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy.

NGC 598 M33 or Triangulum Galaxy
NGC 598/M33 or Triangulum Galaxy | NOAO

However, Triangulum is also the smallest spiral galaxy in the Local Group. In fact, its proximity leads most researchers to classify it as a satellite of the Andromeda.

In an exceptional viewing environment (no light pollution), a person can see Triangulum as a faint smudge in the night sky. Fortunately for us, there’s the Hubble Space Telescope. Once again bringing the vastness of space into perspective, we can now see Triangulum in all its glory.

Just recently, Hubble captured an unprecedentedly detailed portrait of the stunning Triangulum Galaxy. The 665-megapixel high-resolution photo is composed of 54 Hubble fields of view all stitched together to reveal around 25 million stars in the star system.

The mosaic spans 19,400 light-years across and also shows areas of the galaxy where young stars glow bright blue.

The Triangulum Galaxy

The Triangulum galaxy is one of the ideal galaxies to study as it faces Earth. The orientation of this galaxy allows scientists to get a better view of its star distribution and distinct spiral structure.

“My first impression on seeing the Hubble images was, wow, that really is a lot of star formation,” Julianne Dalcanton, an astronomer from the University of Washington in Seattle who led the project, said. “The star formation rate intensity is 10 times higher than the area surveyed in the Andromeda galaxy in 2015.”

Now, researchers think that the Triangulum Galaxy could be a late arrival galaxy to the Local Group. The assumption is primarily based on the undisturbed gas on Triangulum’s orderly spiral arms which indicate that it didn’t have the same turbulent history as the Milky Way or Andromeda.

The downloadable version of Triangulum’s high-resolution image is available here.

Where do you think should be the Hubble Telescope’s next destination?

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