Science

Hubble got the galaxy in the constellation of the Triangle

Hubble got the galaxy in the constellation of the Triangle

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking portrait of the Triangulum Galaxy, displaying a full spiral face aglow with the light of almost 25 million individually resolved stars.

ESA says the Triangulum image is the second-largest ever released by Hubble and will help astronomers better understand how stars form and evolve.

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.

This epic image of the Triangulum Galaxy - also known as Messier 33 or NGC 598 - has a staggering 665 million pixels and showcases the central region of the galaxy and its inner spiral arms.

"My first impression on seeing the Hubble images was, wow, that really is a lot of star formation", astronomer Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the project.




The Triangulum Galaxy, located three million light years away from the Milky Way, is one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye.

The galaxy is a notable member of the Local Group of galaxies, an assembly of more than 50 galaxies bound together by gravity.

According to the ESA, it is the group's third-largest galaxy, but also its smallest spiral galaxy. After Andromeda and the Milky Way, it is the third largest galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood, spanning 60,000 light years. Wide-field view of the Triangulum Galaxy showing the extent of the survey is shown above. To create the image, Hubble snapped 54 individual photos of the galaxy.

"In contrast to the two larger spirals, the Triangulum Galaxy doesn't have a bright bulge at its center and it also lacks a bar connecting its spiral arms to the center", the statement said.

Aside from size and appearance, the Triangulum Galaxy also lags behind Andromeda and Milky Way in terms of the number of stars they have. 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. What it does have, however, is a huge amount of gas and dust that allows for stars to be formed at a rapid rate of approximately one solar mass every two years.


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