Spiral Triangulum Galaxy Shines in Stargazer's Photo

M33 Abolfath Night Sky Photo
Triangulum Galaxy, also known as M33, is located roughly three million light years from Earth in the constellation Triangulum. Astrophotographer Amir Hossein Abolfath took this photo in Aug. 2012 from his home country of Iran. (Image credit: Amir Hossein Abolfath)

The Triangulum galaxy shines  millions of light-years from Earth in this stunning night sky photo.  

Astrophotographer Amir Hossein Abolfath took this photo in August 2012 from his home country of Iran. The night sky  photographer used a Canon 5D MIINo#2719 camera, GSO 10" Newtonian Astrograph and Wynne 3" Corrector—LVI Autoguider on EQ6—7 x 7min on ISO 1600.

The Triangulum galaxy, also known as M33, is about 3 million lights-years away from Earth. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

It’s the third-largest member of the Local group of galaxies, which include our own Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and 30 smaller galaxies. These galaxies are all bound  together by gravity. Because they are bound together, collisions between the galaxies can occur.  However, the Milky Way won’t collide with the Triangulum galaxy anytime soon because it’s so far away.

This galaxy is also very different from out Milky Way. It has little or no central bulge of stars, and astronomers figure if it has a central black hole, the mass of it is probably no more than 3,000 times that of our sun.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing skywatching photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.