The dazzling pink spiral of the Pinwheel Galaxy shines in this stunning image recently sent in to SPACE.com by a veteran astrophotographer.
The image, taken by photographer John Chumack, features an amazing collection of nebulas, star clusters and globular clusters inside the Pinwheel galaxy.
Located almost 3 million light-years away from Earth, the Pinwheel Galaxy is also known as Triangulum Galaxy or M33. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). [Photos: 65 All-Time Great Galaxy Hits]
M33 is the third largest member the Local Group of galaxies, which includes our host galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as the Andromeda Galaxy and 30 smaller galaxies.
"The thing that amazes me about M33, other than it being our neighbor and a beautiful spiral, is that M33 is loaded with 292 pink nebulas (HII Star Formation Regions), the largest pink HII region being NGC-604, which is actually visible in a 6" diameter telescope," Chumack wrote SPACE.com in an email. "To be able to see nebula visually in other galaxies—now that is really cool!"
The close-up image was taken during a 4.3-hour of exposure on Aug. 14 at Chumack’s observatories in Yellow Springs Research Station and the Miami Valley Astronomical Society dark-sky site at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
He took this shot with his homemade 16" diameter F4.5 Fork Mounted Newtonian Telescope, Baader CLS filter and Coma Corrector, 16" scope. He used PHD guiding software, 4" Celestron refractor guide scope and QHY5 mono CCD to capture the image.
To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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