Island in Space

April Object of the Month – The Triangulum Galaxy M33

Each month I will focus on one object which is available in the Galaxy on Glass range. This month I have chosen the beautiful galaxy M33.

Island in Space

What is it?

This is a beautiful spiral galaxy known as the Triangulum galaxy: it appears in the direction of the constellation Triangulum. It is also catalogued as M33 and sometimes referred to as The Pinwheel, for obvious reasons! It is part of our local group of galaxies which contains at least 40 ‘Islands in space’ as they are often referred to. M33 is smaller than our own galaxy, the Milky Way with a mass of about one tenth. It is estimated it contains in the region of 40 billion stars. The galaxy is about 3 million light years from Earth and probably influenced by the huge gravitational pull of its biggest neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy. As with all the galaxies in this group they are moving and will one day collide with each other, forming new larger galaxies.

Here is a close-up of the core of the galaxy from my image.

the core

Here is a close-up of one of the beautiful spiral arms- millions of stars reaching out into space

M33 outer arms2

Contained within this image you will see red areas. These are star forming regions or huge nebulae. In the image below there is one such ‘blob’ which is such a large nebula that it has its own catalogue number NGC 604, despite being in another galaxy. It is estimated to be 7-10 times the size of the Orion nebula- a massive nebula in our galaxy.

M33 star forming

And finally- in this close up below you can see a blob in the centre – this is not part of M33 but instead another spiral galaxy, seen side-on in the far, far distance. There are a few galaxies like this to be seen in my image -see if you can spot them!

m33 another galaxy

 

M33- Island in Space is available in the Galaxy on Glass Chris Lintott Collection.