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Hubble Space Telescope Captures Awesome View of Neighboring Galaxy

11 January 2019

The Triangulum Galaxy, also known as Messier 33 or NGC 598, is a spiral galaxy located at a distance of some 3 million light-years.

Triangulum is the third-largest galaxy in what's known as the Local Group of galaxies, which includes bigger neighbors Andromeda and our own Milky Way.

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. But just a little farther - okay, 500,000 light-years farther - is another spiral galaxy, the third largest in our local group. The Triangulum galaxy is about 60,000 light-years across, which is much smaller than the Andromeda Galaxy that measures 200,000 light-years in diameter.

This is the second-largest image ever released by Hubble and shows Triangulum's central region as well as its inner spiral arms. The remaining galaxies of the group orbit any one of these three larger members. "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". 'The star formation rate intensity is 10 times higher than the area surveyed in the Andromeda galaxy in 2015.' The Triangulum galaxy was chosen for this ultra-high-res photo op because it's positioned such that we can view its structure in great detail.

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

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The spectacular vista is in fact a giant mosaic, formed from 54 separate images created by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Astronomers think that Triangulum has avoided disruptive interactions with other galaxies, instead spending the eons tending its well-ordered spiral and turning out new generations of stars.

The runt of the litter also lacks the conventional bright bulge at its heart and does not have a bar connecting its spiral arms to the center.

Which is freaky, because newborn stars devour dust and gas, leaving less fuel for new celestial bodies to emerge.

The new Hubble image shows two of the four brightest of these regions in the galaxy: NGC 595 and NGC 604.

Hubble Space Telescope Captures Awesome View of Neighboring Galaxy