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M33 (NGC 598) central regions

Tags: galaxy, spiral, nebula, AAT, M33, NGC 598

M33 is a large, almost face-on spiral galaxy about 2.5 million light years distant in the northern constellation of Triangulum. It is a member of the 'Local Group' of galaxies, which is dominated by the Milky Way and M31. Like M31, M33 is approaching the Milky Way at a velocity of about 180km/s. Though the total light M33 galaxy is that of a star of magnitude 5.3, its large diameter makes it hard to see. However, despite its low surface brightness, this galaxy was among the first to be identified as a 'spiral nebula' by Lord Rosse in the 1840s. On shorter exposures, the nucleus appears very bright and almost stellar, like that in its southern cousin, NGC 300.

Photograph made from plates taken in October, 1991.
Top left is NE. Image width is about 14 arc min.

Credit: David Malin

© 1991-2002, David Malin/IAC/RGO (or David Malin/Instituto de Astrofisca des Canarias/Royal Greenwich Observatory)