* Usually Known as the Triangulum Galaxy
Hey, Sky Fans! Happy Friday! It’s been really hectic week (just when you think there’s only so many soccer practices…) but here we are at the first weekend of summer, here in north.
A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at the Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101). Sometimes in astronomy, more than one thing gets the same name. This time around, here’s a different Pinwheel Galaxy, Messier 33. This galaxy is usually better known as the Triangulum Galaxy, but I’ve seen Pinwheel used sometimes, too.
M33 is a spiral galaxy about 2.5 to 3 million light years (LY) away, off in the constellation Triangulum. If that distance sounds a little familiar, it’s because it’s a little bit farther than the distance to the Great Andromeda Galaxy, M31. In fact, it’s thought that this galaxy might be gravitationally bound to M31. This is really close as these things go.
If you remember back to M101, I mentioned that it was 20 million LY away and said it’s considered close. This is much closer than that. I’ve read that it’s visible with the naked eye, but I’ve never seen it.
It’s the smallest of the spiral galaxies in the Local Group, about 60,000 LY across. Our Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 LY.
It’s a beautiful and inspiring photo of another incredible place, isn’t it?
Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks for stopping by, and clear skies!