Wild Hubble Triangulum Galaxy image is telescope's second largest ever

Mindy Sparks
January 11, 2019

To be able to create the panoramic survey of the 40 billion years that make up the Triangulum Galaxy, Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys captured 54 separate photos and created one enormous mosaic.

NASA says the image shows "a full spiral face aglow with the light of almost 25 million individually resolved stars".

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) on Monday released the most detailed image of our close neighbor, the Triangulum Galaxy-located a mere 3 million light years from Earth. It gets its name from the Triangulum constellation, where it sits. Being a faint object, its visibility is sharply affected by small amounts of light pollution.

It also has at least an order of magnitude less stars than the Milky Way and two orders of magnitude less than Andromeda. Andromeda, the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy are the three largest members of the Local Group, measuring 200,000 light-years, 100,000 light-years, and 60,000 light-years across, respectively.

Andromeda and the Milky Way also surpass the Triangulum Galaxy in terms of the number of stars they contain. "By counting up all the stars of different ages in a galaxy, it's possible to reconstruct a galaxy's star-formation history - that is, how many stars formed at a given time - over the entire history of the universe".

"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. '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.

Still, Messier 33 remains an important find, its abundance of gas clouds drawing astronomers to conduct this detailed analysis. Hubble's image shows two of the four brightest of these regions in the galaxy: NGC 595 and NGC 604.

These enormous stellar nurseries rank among the largest and brightest in the Local Cluster, shining with the light of ionized hydrogen.It was the presence of these active star forming regions that led astronomers to target Messier 33 with the Hubble telescope.

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