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Hubble Telescope captures most detailed image ever of nearby galaxy

Hubble Telescope captures most detailed image ever of nearby galaxy

Galaxy is located at a distance of three million light years from Earth.

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.

Triangulum is perfectly positioned for astronomers to study and compare to both our own Milky Way galaxy and one of our other neighbors, Andromeda, as it faces directly towards us, showcasing its near-perfect distribution of stars along its well-defined spiral structure.

Under favorable conditions, the galaxy can be seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy object in the constellation of the Triangle. The Triangulum galaxy is about 60,000 light-years across, which is much smaller than the Andromeda Galaxy that measures 200,000 light-years in diameter.

Daniel Weisz, an assistant professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley, was honored at this week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society for his early-career research on relatively nearby "dwarf" galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. The remaining galaxies of the group orbit any one of these three larger members. Astronomers hope that the new image, along with previous surveys taken of the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies, will help them gain a deeper understanding of stellar evolution in the Local Group and beyond.

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You can check out the whole 1.6GB, full-sized image through the European Space Agency's Hubble site. But it's undergoing extreme star formation, perhaps 10 times more intense than Andromeda, according to the release. New stars form at a rate of approximately one solar mass every two years.

Hubble takes images in incredibly high resolution, of course, but it's not the only telescope that can observe this galaxy.

The abundance of gas clouds in the Triangulum Galaxy is precisely what drew astronomers to conduct this detailed survey.

The new Hubble image shows two of the four brightest of these regions in the galaxy: NGC 595 and NGC 604. The latter is the second most luminous region of ionized hydrogen within the Local Group and it is also among the largest known star formation regions in the Local Group.