Hubble's detailed image of nearby galaxy

  • Hubble's detailed image of nearby galaxy

Hubble's detailed image of nearby galaxy

The composite image includes 54 snapshots of Hubble's vision digitally stitched together, capturing a truly staggering 25 million stars.

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.

The near-perfect distribution of stars within Triangulum has led researchers to believe that the galaxy has somehow avoided any major intergalactic collisions and has remained relatively untouched for aeons. Within its scope lies roughly 10 - 15 million individual stars, along with numerous star clusters and bright nebulae. For one, the Triangulum Galaxy is much smaller, with a diameter of just 60,000 light-years compared to the Milky Way's 100,000.

Further research may determine if Triangulum is actually a newer member of the Local Group of galaxies.

It also has at least an order of magnitude less stars than the Milky Way and two orders of magnitude less than Andromeda.

In contrast to the two larger spiral galaxies, Triangulum does not have a bright bulge at its centre - and it also lacks a bar connecting its spiral arms to the centre. That huge amount of gas and dust allows for rapid star formation, at a rate of approximately one solar mass every two years.

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

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The abundance of gas clouds in the Triangulum Galaxy is precisely what drew astronomers to conduct this detailed survey.

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

The massive mosaic image of the Triangulum galaxy (M33) was released on January 7 and shows one of dozens of our celestial neighbours in our suburb of the universe known as 'the Local Group'.

Many other Hubblecast episodes are also available. Astronomers hope that the new image, along with previous surveys taken of the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, will help them gain a deeper understanding of stellar evolution in the Local Group and beyond.