Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Hydrogen Clouds of M33
Posted on 12/27/2013 1:05:16 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Gorgeous spiral galaxy M33 seems to have more than its fair share of glowing hydrogen gas. A prominent member of the local group of galaxies, M33 is also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and lies about 3 million light-years distant. Its inner 30,000 light-years are shown in this telescopic galaxy portrait that enhances the reddish ionized hydrogen clouds or HII regions. Sprawling along loose spiral arms that wind toward the core, M33's giant HII regions are some of the largest known stellar nurseries, sites of the formation of short-lived but very massive stars. Intense ultraviolet radiation from the luminous, massive stars ionizes the surrounding hydrogen gas and ultimately produces the characteristic red glow. To enhance this image, broadband data was used to produce a color view of the galaxy and combined with narrowband data recorded through a hydrogen-alpha filter, transmitting the light of the strongest hydrogen emission line. To see the monochromatic narrowband data alone, move your cursor over the image, or take this video tour of the hydrogen clouds of M33.
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[Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona]
When I see such pictures I am humbled and wonder if there is some life out there. Surely there must be some forms.
I will add, however, that I do not believe the Kook to Kook crowd that thinks we are being visited by ET. I would, however, like to dialog with those who think otherwise.
I remember, during my first days with a 60mm refractor telescope as a pre-teen, trying in vain to see this thing. After seeing M31 how hard could it have been? LoL!
M31 to M33? Why, isn’t M32 good enough for ya?!? ;’) This is the time of the year I’m tempted to get a scope, because they’re always on display ahead of Christmas, but this year there were only reflectors in the stores I frequent, no catadioptric or refractors that I noticed. Problem is, I’d probably never use it. My ideal world would be to have a big CCD-equipped scope that I use by remote control from right here. ;’)