M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy (Collaboration)


Callum Hayton

Southern France

Processed in Pixinsight, Ha combined in PS

Matts Gear
Scope: Takahashi FSQ106ED
Camera: QHY9M cooled to -20
Mount: NEQ6 Belt Modded

Scope: Altair Astro 115EDT
Camera: Canon 1100D, Canon 600Da
Mount: NEQ6

Note: The hydrogen clouds in this galaxy are very hard to pick up in an image with a regular DSLR, even a modified one as the camera is not sensitive to that particular wavelength of light. Ideally you need a mono CCD camera and a Hydrogen Alpha filter. I have neither of these but was lucky enough to be able to collaborate with Matthew Foyle from the UK who supplied the Ha data, something i have never dealt with before.

M33 is a spiral galaxy found 3 million light years away in the constellation Triangulum. With a diameter of about 60,000 light years, it is the third largest galaxy in our local group after our own galaxy the Milky Way and M31 the Andromeda galaxy which M33 is thought to be a gravitationally bound companion to. It is home to some 40 billion stars, not many compared to the 400 billion found in the Milky Way and the 1 trillion in Andromeda.

M33s future is un-certain, it is thought to of had a close encounter with M31 in the past 2-8 billion years and may do again. It is also possible it may participate in M31s collision with our own galaxy in 4 billion years which may result in our galaxies merging, or it may be ejected from the local group all together.

Along M33s loosely wound spiral arms are massive regions of star birth, some of the largest known. These ionized hydrogen clouds, more commonly known as nebula are the same as those that are found and imaged by astrophotographers one by one in our own galaxy, except here we can see all that M33 has to offer in a single image including the massive nebula known as NGC 604. NGC 604 contains around 200 blue stars and is over 1,500 light years across, a monster compared to the Carina nebula, one of the Milky Ways largest gas clouds which spans only 300 light years.

RGB – 63* 600 seconds ISO 800 f7
Ha – 13* 1200 seconds f5, 15* 1200 seconds f8

Total Exposure:
19.8 hours