Astrophoto: Can You Count the 292 Pink Nebulae in the Triangulum Galaxy?

Article written: 28 Aug , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

Take a look at this stunning new close-up of M33, the Triangulum Galaxy by one of our favorite astrophotographers, John Chumack. “The thing that amazes me about M33 other than it being our neighbor and a beautiful spiral galaxy, is that M33 is loaded with 292 pink nebulae (HII Star Formation Regions),” John said via email, “the largest pink nebula being NGC-604, which is actually visible in a 6″ diameter telescope…to be able to see nebula visually in other galaxies — now that is really cool!”

Your challenge for the day: how many nebulae can you count in this beautiful new image? There are also star clusters and even a few globular clusters in the image, as well.

M33 is about 2.6 million light years away and is the second closest spiral galaxy to us, next to the Andromeda galaxy. “Due to its very low surface brightness it can be a challenge to see from or nearby cities,” John explained, “but from a dark location on a perfectly clear night and assuming you have 20/20 vision, it is the furthest object the Human eye could see into deep space without optical aid.”

John used a QHY8 CCD + 16″ reflector in this 4.3 hour exposure. Pretty in pink!

John Chumack's daughter Kayla took this picture of her Dad holding a 16x24 print of M33. Image courtesy of John Chumack.

John Chumack’s daughter Kayla took this picture of her Dad holding a 16×24 print of M33. Image courtesy of John Chumack.

John said he always runs his images by his wife and children to get their final okay, if it looks good to them, then he knows it’s a keeper! His daughter Kayla liked this one enough to want to take a picture of her Dad holding a print of it.

See more of John’s work at his website, Galactic Images, or on his Flickr page.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

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3 Responses

  1. Ernie says

    It would be easier to count the nebulae if he used an HII filter. 😉

    • Bill McLaughlin says

      It is quite likely that he did use an Ha filter and combined this with the RGB to enhance the nebulae. A pretty well-known technique that has been used for years.

      Personally, I am not fond of the look of these Ha enhanced galactic images. They serve the purpose of revealing the nebulae but make the galaxies look like they have the measles. Just a matter of taste, however.

  2. Kevin Frushour says

    “The pink stars are falling!”

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