Monday, July 7, 2014 12:00am -0400

Sparkling Island Universe: The Triangulum Galaxy

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Triangulum Galaxy Triangulum Galaxy Jeff Johnson

As we sit on our hunk of rock somewhere in the outskirts of the Milky Way, we have no way to see ourselves from the outside. The Triangulum Galaxy helps us to imagine what we could look like. It is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 30 other smaller galaxies. This galactic wonder is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.

Sparkling as an island universe adrift in the cosmic ocean, it is one of many close to our own. If the Milky Way had a smaller twin many think Triangulum Galaxy (M33) would be it. With a mere 40 billion stars M33 doesn't measure up to our own galaxy with more than 200 billion stars. It doesn't even come close to the size of its big brother, the massive Andromeda galaxy that boast a mind-blowing 1 trillion alien suns.

The Triangulum floats along side of Andromeda as its satellite galaxy. Both are spinning towards the Milky Way at a speed of 24 km/second. This dazzling spiral is only around 3 million light years from Earth. Even though it is the baby of the family it still has its own cosmic treasures, such as bright stellar nurseries and luminous nebulae. It even has a small satellite galaxy of its own, called the Pisces Dwarf Galaxy.

This breathtaking image was taken by astrophotographer Jeff Johnson from Las Cruces, New Mexico. You can view more of Jeff's incredible photos on his website


Read 8154 times Last modified on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 4:28pm -0400
Laurel Nendza

Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.