Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors
Astrophotography © Brian A. Morganti
M33 - Triangulum Galaxy
aka Pinwheel Galaxy
The Triangulum Galaxy, also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy, is a beautiful face on spiral galaxy 2.3 million light years away, about the same distance as the the Great Andromeda Galaxy. However, it's diameter of 50,000 light years is only a third the size of Andromeda, so it appears much smaller thru binoculars or telescopes. Several small red emission nebulae are evident in this image with the largest (NGC 604) visible at the edge of an outer arm of the galaxy in the lower left center of the image. This region of hydrogen gas glows red, illuminated by 200 young stars at its center. Small in appearance here, it is actually four times larger than the famous Orion Nebula, but resides 2,000 times farther away within the Triangulum galaxy.
M33 covers an apparent area of sky bigger than the full moon, but it also has a relatively low surface brightness. From a dark-sky site under good conditions, it can be seen by keen-eyed observers without optical aid. It is probably the most distant object that can be seen with the naked eye at a distance of 3 million light years, slightly farther than its much brighter neighbor, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.
The below image was captured previously on a less accurate mount
with a much shorter total exposure.
Astrophotography - Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors