The newest image that the Hubble Space Telescope put together of the Triangulum galaxy is truly stunning. Displaying the galaxy’s 25 million viewable stars, the HD photograph is only the latest to show us just how beautiful our universe really is.
While NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Hubble Space Telescope, the projects are a joint operation conducted by NASA and ESA, the European Space Agency.
Triangulum is about three million light years away from us and is one of the three largest galaxies in our immediate area, and is part of what’s called the “Local Group.”
The other two include ours (The Milky Way) — and Andromeda. This Local Group is made up of about 40 galaxies, discovered by Edwin Hubble himself.
What makes the Triangulum Galaxy unique is how we can view it. Instead of seeing just a sliver of a galaxy’s face, or an arm, as we do of most galaxies because of the way they’re positioned relative to us, we see this one as a full-on spiral face. That face is about 19,400 light years from edge to edge and allows scientists to study how it creates stars more fully. Plus, we can see its spiral arms more fully detailed than we can see spiral arms from other galaxies.
Researchers hope that they can figure out more about how galaxies are formed and their overall evolution because of this unique view of Triangulum.
According to scientists, this is because Triangulum is an “unusually orderly spiral,” meaning that the dust and gasses kicked up by star production makes it much easier to see how the galaxy is shaped.
According to scientists, because of the way it interacts with Andromeda, they believe Triangulum may be a sort of “satellite” to Andromeda – a moon of sorts. According to the reports, they move around each other in unison and are extremely close together.
Although, scientists say that Triangulum likely had little interaction with other galaxies, meaning that it’s possible that over the years and eons to come, it could retain its shape as it produces even more stars.
We can thank the Hubble for this beautiful high-resolution photograph because of the unique way it takes and then puts together the different images. In this case, it took the Hubble 54 images stitched together to make the complete view of the galaxy. According to Hubble scientists, the images were captured during the February 2017 to the February 2018 year.
Why are this galaxy’s images so magnificent? According to scientists, it’s because it forms its stars unusually fast – ten times faster than the Andromeda galaxy to be exact, which researchers last surveyed Andromeda in 2015.
According to the press release from Hubble, the bright blue colors come from nebulas consisting of ionized gasses of hydrogen. The byproducts of the star formation such as gasses and clouds of dust get lit up by the light from the stars and thus creates a more dynamic image.
You can see these in the upper left-hand corner of the photo; areas that indicate new star growth. You can also see the full, high-resolution version of the image Hubble took on the Hubble website.
Check out this video that NASA put together of the Triangulum Galaxy:
Featured Image: Screenshot via Hubblesite/Public Domain