Photo sequence of Saturn: 24 February 2009
This Hubble image shows the progression of four of Saturn’s moon as they circle their parent planet. The orange moon in the image is Titan, Saturn’s largest.
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Acknowledgment: M. Wong (STScI/UC Berkeley) and C. Go (Philippines)
(ESA) Nearby M33 galaxy blossoming with star birth
The spiral galaxy M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is one of our closest cosmic neighbours, just three million light-years away. Home to some forty billion stars, it is the third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and our own Milky Way.
M33 is popular with astrophotographers and from exceptionally dark sites it can even be seen with the naked eye. Thanks to its orientation, we can enjoy a face-on view of the beautiful spiral structure of the galaxy’s disc.
This image, from ESA’s Herschel space observatory, shows M33 in far-infrared light, revealing the glow of cosmic dust in the interstellar medium that permeates the galaxy. The patchy, disorganised structure of M33’s spiral arms resembles a tuft of wool, leading astronomers to classify it as a flocculent spiral galaxy.