Sunday, December 5, 2010

M33 - Spiral Galaxy in Triangulum

Click on the image for a larger view

My previous post was of a spiral galaxy (NGC 891) seen edge on.  Here is a spiral galaxy seen face on.  This galaxy is much closer to us, therefore almost filling the field of view of my 1000mm telescope.  Formally known as Messier 33 (M33), it is also call the Pinwheel galaxy due to its fantastic spiral shape.  If you know exactly where to look in the sky, you are away from the light pollution of a city and have good eyesight, you can just see it as a fuzzy patch of light without optical aid.  At 3 million light years away, it is one of the furthest objects you can see without a telescope.

Make sure to click on the image so that you can take a look at all the intricate detail scattered across the galaxy.  Because this is a very active star forming galaxy, you can see small pink areas that are hydrogen emission nebulae (star factories), large star clusters and many lanes of dust circling this incredible scene.

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