M33 optical/radio


About this image

This image of the Triangulum Galaxy was created by combining optical data from the National Science Foundation's 0.9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona with radio data from the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) telescope in New Mexico and the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) in the Netherlands. Also known as M33, the Triangulum Galaxy is part of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and our galaxy, the Milky Way. M33 is over thirty thousand light-years across, and more than two million light-years away.

The optical data in this image show the many stars within the galaxy as well as reddish star-forming regions that are filled with hot hydrogen gas. The radio data reveal the cool hydrogen gas within the galaxy, gas which cannot be seen with an optical telescope. Combined together, the radio and optical give a more comprehensive view of star formation in this galaxy. The color image was generated by combining images taken with the 0.9-meter telescope through four filters (B, V, I and Hydrogen-alpha) and 21cm neutral hydrogen data taken with the VLA and WSRT (shown in blue-violet). The image is one square degree in field of view, roughly five times the size of the Moon.

We also have an image of M33 without the radio data.

More: galaxies page, spiral galaxies page, messier page.

Minimum credit line: T.A.Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOAO/AURA/NSF) and M.Hanna (NOAO/AURA/NSF)

Downloadable versions:
400 x 408 28 kb color JPEG (on this page)
1024 x 1045 168 kb color JPEG
2048 x 2089 552 kb color JPEG
8107 x 8270 10.4 Mb color JPEG
8107 x 8270 65.5 Mb 8-bit color TIFF
8107 x 8270 178.3 Mb 24-bit color TIFF
(see NOAO Conditions of Use)

Comments by e-mail to