The most detailed image yet of a 40-billion star neighbouring galaxy has been captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
While it is the third largest galaxy in the Local Group, the Triangulum Galaxy is also the smallest spiral galaxy among Milky Way's neighbors.
While it is possible to observe the Triangulum Galaxy under excellent dark-sky conditions, the human eye will only see it as a faint, blurry object with an ethereal glow in the Triangulum (the Triangle) constellation.
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.
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The Hubble Space Telescope's mind-blowing new image of the Triangulum Galaxy is nearly as huge as the galaxy itself.
In the past, star-formation histories in the Local Group have been measured one galaxy at a time, often using different analysis techniques.
He received the 2019 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize "for his transformational work on the star-formation histories of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group, our galactic neighborhood".
He is looking forward to taking the first observations of the local universe with the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble that is scheduled for launch in 2021.
This image is only a tiny part of the large wide-field image of the Triangulum Galaxy created by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. To create the image, Hubble snapped 54 individual photos of the galaxy.
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In contrast to the two larger spirals, the Triangulum Galaxy doesn't have a bright bulge at its center and it also lacks a bar connecting its spiral arms to the center.
Astronomers think that Triangulum has avoided disruptive interactions with other galaxies, instead spending the eons tending its well-ordered spiral and turning out new generations of stars. "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". New stars form at a rate of approximately one solar mass every two years.
The abundance of gas clouds in the Triangulum Galaxy is precisely what drew astronomers to conduct this detailed survey.
Which is weird, because newborn stars devour dust and gas, leaving less fuel for new celestial bodies to emerge.
The glowing blue areas show where stars are being born, such as in the nebulas of hot, ionized hydrogen gas like star-forming region NGC 604 in the upper left.
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