Thursday, 12 December 2013

M33 - Triangulum Galaxy

In the boring constellation of Triangulum (exactly, three stars forming a triangle) is hidden one of the most beautiful galaxies in the sky. The Triangulum Galaxy is a spiral galaxy at approximately 3 million light years from Earth with an apparent size of 70.8 × 41.7 arcminutes. It is catalogued as Messier 33 or NGC 598, and is sometimes informally referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy, a nickname it shares with M101. Funny thing is that, by the time the photons left this galaxy, we were just bunch of Australopithecus Afarensis just starting to raise our heads in Africa...

The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 44 other smaller galaxies. It is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye with a magnitude of 5.7 (of course in really dark skies).

This picture is composed of 70 subs taken in different locations in Galicia through the small ETX-70 to a total time of around 2 hours (40 subs x 2' and 30 subs x 2,5' at ISO 1600 with 30 darks and 50 bias). Stacked with DeepSky Stacker and processed with StartTools.

It is amazing that with some patience, this little telescope is able to picture NGC 604. This is a star formation area in M33. A nebula similar to the ones we have in our own galaxy but located at 2.75 million ly but 40 times bigger than the Orion nebula.

All the comments are welcome, is the only way to improve.


And the annotated image: