Hubblecast 115 Light: Triangulum Galaxy in unrivalled detail

Sharpest View Ever of the Triangulum Galaxy

The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy located about three million light-years away from the Milky Way.

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the best-ever mosaic image of the Triangulum Galaxy.

Triangulum is perfectly positioned for astronomers to study and compare to both our own Milky Way galaxy and one of our other neighbors, Andromeda, as it faces directly towards us, showcasing its near-perfect distribution of stars along its well-defined spiral structure. It can be seen with the naked eye under the right conditions-it appears as a "faint, blurry object in the constellation of Triangulum", a statement from Hubble said. 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. 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 big mosaic. Some 1500 light-years across, this is one of the largest, brightest concentrations of ionized hydrogen (H II) in our Local Group of galaxies, and it is a major center of star formation. The Milky Way is also a part of the group. Astronomer Steven Bellavia, an engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory, coincidentally sent me an image he took of the galaxy with a 71mm refracting telescope and 20 megapixel astronomy camera over the course of two hours. The Triangulum Galaxy also contains two orders of magnitude less than Andromeda.

Hubble takes images in incredibly high resolution, of course, but it's not the only telescope that can observe this galaxy.

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As the junior member of this trio, the Triangulum Galaxy provides the valuable comparisons and contrasts that only a close companion can.

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. 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.

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

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