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The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Triangulum Galaxy, a spiral galaxy located at a distance of only three million light-years, inspires the question: "What awesome life forms reside there?"

The most detailed image yet of a 40-billion star neighbouring galaxy has been captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy is usually visible as a faint, blurry object under dark-sky conditions.

The massive mosaic image of the Triangulum galaxy (M33) was released on January 7 and shows one of dozens of our celestial neighbours in our suburb of the universe known as 'the Local Group'. After Andromeda and the Milky Way, it is the third largest galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood, spanning 60,000 light years.

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. Hubble's vivid view, shared Monday, combines 54 images into one image showing the central part of the galaxy and some of its spiral arms.

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She is set to visit Smart Works on Thursday and plans to make public visits to the other three organizations in the coming weeks. Joanna Newman, chief executive and secretary general of the ACU, said she was "thrilled" Meghan had become their new patron.

The galaxy is a notable member of the Local Group of galaxies, an assembly of more than 50 galaxies bound together by gravity. 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.

Another difference between the Triangulum Galaxy and the two more popular spiral galaxies is that the former does not have a bright bulge in its center. Astronomer Steven Bellavia, an engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory, coincidentally sent me an image he took of the galaxy with a 71mm refracting telescope and 20 megapixel astronomy camera over the course of two hours. 'The star formation rate intensity is 10 times higher than the area surveyed in the Andromeda galaxy in 2015.' The Triangulum galaxy was chosen for this ultra-high-res photo op because it's positioned such that we can view its structure in great detail.

The abundance of gas clouds in the Triangulum Galaxy is precisely what drew astronomers to conduct this detailed survey. It does, however, contain a huge amount of gas and dust, giving rise to rapid star formation.

During star formation, the clouds of gas and dust in galaxies are used to fuel growth.


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