Hubble snaps gargantuan 665 million pixel mosaic of neighboring Triangulum Galaxy

This new image from Hubble shows an elliptical galaxy called Messier 105. Image credit NASA  ESA  Hubble  C. Sarazin et

The Hubble Space Telescope has snapped an awesome image of the Triangulum Galaxy, which is 3 million light years from our own Milky Way Galaxy.

It's our neighbor in a collection of dozens of galaxies called the Local Group, and was captured in unprecedented detail in image consisting of 54 Hubble fields of view stitched together, revealing almost 25 million individually resolved stars. By combining this detailed observation with similar surveys of the Milky Way, Andromeda, and other galaxies in the Local Group, astronomers will be able to learn more about how stars form and evolve.

Under favorable conditions, the galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy object in the constellation of the Triangle. It measures only about 60 000 light-years across, compared to the 200 000 light-years of the Andromeda Galaxy; the Milky Way lies between these extremes at about 100 000 light-years in diameter.

The image consists of 54 Hubble fields-of-view taken from February 2017 to February 2018, according to a release from the Space Telescope Science Institute. "By counting up all the stars of different ages in a galaxy, it's possible to reconstruct a galaxy's star-formation history - that is, how many stars formed at a given time - over the entire history of the universe".

Another difference between the Triangulum Galaxy and the two more popular spiral galaxies is that the former does not have a bright bulge in its center.

Hubble, the trusty space telescope that has been delivering gorgeous views of the cosmos for decades now, just delivered another gift. It does, however, contain a huge amount of gas and dust, giving rise to rapid star formation.

Triangulum, also known as Messier 33 or NGC 598, is made up of around 40 billion stars.

The Andromeda Galaxy was mapped by Hubble in 2015, creating the sharpest and largest image of this galaxy and the largest Hubble image ever.

The abundance of gas clouds in the Triangulum Galaxy is precisely what drew astronomers to conduct this detailed survey. The new image from Hubble shows two of the four brightest regions of Triangulum.

These enormous stellar nurseries rank among the largest and brightest in the Local Cluster, shining with the light of ionized hydrogen.It was the presence of these active star forming regions that led astronomers to target Messier 33 with the Hubble telescope.

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