The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Triangulum Galaxy • M33

M33 image

Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Observers: Nelson Caldwell, Brian McLeod, and Andy Szentgyorgyi, CfA

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The center of the Triangulum galaxy is filled with older, yellow, long-burning stars. Younger, blue, fast-burning stars populate the spiral arms, creating waves of star formation that ripple around the central disk. Astronomers see the same processes and life cycles of stars in these nearby galaxies that they see in our own.

The inset shows NGC 604, an enormous star formation region.

  • Distance from Earth: 3 million light years
  • Size: 50,000 light years
  • Telescope: MMT/Megacam
  • Light: Visible