Hubble Captures 655-million-pixel Image of ‘Triangle’ Galaxy Showing 40 Billion Stars

Fly across the local galactic neighbourhood to the Triangulum galaxy (M33), a smaller spiral than our Milky Way galaxy. Zoom in first on one of M33's bright regions of star birth, nebula NGC 604, glowing with hot ionized hydrogen gas. The remarkable ability of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to resolve millions of individual stars is on display in this pan across M33's dense star field.

The Hubble Space Telescope has produced yet another sensational image.

Located over three million light-years away from the Milky Way, we find the Triangulum Galaxy, one of the most distant objects visible to the naked eye, appearing as a giant blurry object in the night sky. The Triangulum Galaxy is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, behind the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy.

Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33), taken with amateur equipment. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33), taken with amateur equipment. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Now, Hubble has managed to capture a stunning, never-before-seen 655 million pixel image of the galaxy showing its more than 40 billion stars.

Observing the galaxy with the naked eye is hard. Under good observational conditions, the Triangulum Galaxy appears as a faint, blurry object, hidden away in the constellation Triangulum–The Triangle.

“My first impression on seeing the Hubble images was, wow, that really is a lot of star formation,” said astronomer and project lead Julianne Dalcanton.

Speaking about the recently released image, the ESA added: “These detailed observations of the Triangulum Galaxy have tremendous legacy value – combined with those of the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and the irregular Magellanic Cloud galaxies, they will help astronomers to understand star formation and stellar evolution better.”

The Triangulum Galaxy (M33) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Durbin, J. Dalcanton, and B.F. Williams (University of Washington).
The Triangulum Galaxy (M33) Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Durbin, J. Dalcanton, and B.F. Williams (University of Washington).

But despite the fact it is hard to observe, its an observational sweet spot for sky gazers.

Now, the Hubble Telescope, a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency, has produced a new 665-million pixel image where the spiral galaxy’s billions of stars are visible in a stunning cosmic masterpiece.

You can see the whole 1.6-GB, full-sized image by accessing the European Space Agency’s Hubble site.

The image itself is a massive mosaic produced by 54 separate images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Survey.

The new cosmic image is Hubble’s second-largest image ever released and features the central region of the galaxy and its inner spiral arms.

The image (or the long version of the video) shows millions of stars, hundreds of star clusters, and several bright nebulae.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).

The Triangulum Galaxy measures approximately 60,000 light-years across, which is small compared to Andromeda’s massive size, believed to measure around 200,000 light-years across.

Looking at Hubble’s masterpiece, I can’t help and wonder how many potentially habitable planets are we looking at in this new image?

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Ivan Petricevic

Hi, my name is Ivan and I am the founder of Curiosmos, Ancient Code and Pyramidomania. I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.
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