M33

Revisiting E.T.’s Galaxy (M33)

I’ve imaged M33, the “Triangulum Galaxy” before – but not yet from our new home with darker skies and better equipment. I’m really pleased with how this came out – although M33 is very close to us (2-3 million light-years – that’s close by galactic standards!) it is notoriously difficult to image. Although it’s close, it’s relatively small and diffuse, with about 1/10 of the stars as our own galaxy.

There’s good detail to be seen here, both in the galaxy’s tenuous structure and in the clouds of ionized Hydrogen gas that appear as red in this image. You can even see how individual star clusters hollowed out that gas, leaving circular shells surrounding them. Being able to see that in another galaxy from the backyard is kind of mind-blowing!

In popular culture, M33 is the home of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” – and it’s hotly debated whether it could be the “galaxy far far away” in Star Wars đŸ™‚

Imaged over about 11 hours from 4 different nights.

M33 Triangulum Galaxy

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