NASA’s Hubble Takes Incredible 665-Million Pixel Image of Triangulum Galaxy

NGC 604

NASA and ESA's Hubble Space Telescope recently obtained a breathtaking, incredibly detailed photo of the Triangulum Galaxy, a spiral galaxy that is a close neighbor of the Milky Way.

Under favorable conditions, the galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy object in the constellation of the Triangle.

The full image contains nearly 25 million stars, and will help scientists study not just the Triangulum Galaxy, but Andromeda and our own. Today, September 9, 2009, NASA released the first images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope since its fix in the spring.

But in a new 665-million pixel image taken by the NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope, the spiral galaxy's billions of stars are brightly showcased. "Most notably, Triangulum's star formation is 10 times more intense than in the comparable Hubble panorama of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy". To create the image, Hubble snapped 54 individual photos of the galaxy. Andromeda, the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy are the three largest members of the Local Group, measuring 200,000 light-years, 100,000 light-years, and 60,000 light-years across, respectively.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took the sharpest image so far of the Triangle galaxy, where almost 25 million stars can be seen.

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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. What it does have, however, is a huge amount of gas and dust that allows for stars to be formed at a rapid rate of approximately one solar mass every two years. "Combined with those of the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the irregular Magellanic Cloud galaxies, they will help astronomers to better understand star formation and stellar evolution".

During star formation, the clouds of gas and dust in galaxies are used to fuel growth. "Uncovering the Triangulum galaxy's story will provide an important point of reference in understanding how galaxies develop over time, and the diverse paths that shape what we see today". The new image from Hubble shows two of the four brightest regions of Triangulum.

This big image of the Triangulum Galaxy includes 665 pixels.

Many other Hubblecast episodes are also available.

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