Astronomy Picture of the Day

Hydrogen in M33

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#96386 by @ 24.11.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Hydrogen in M33

Explanation: Gorgeous spiral galaxy M33 seems to have more than its fair share of hydrogen. Its inner 30,000 light-years are shown here in an image processed to fully reveal the reddish glow of ionized hydrogen regions (HII regions) sprawling along loose spiral arms as they wind toward the galaxy's core. Historically of great interest to astronomers, M33's giant HII regions are some of the largest known stellar nurseries - sites of the formation of short-lived but very massive stars. Intense ultraviolet radiation from the luminous, massive stars ionizes the surrounding hydrogen gas and ultimately produces the characteristic red glow. A prominent member of the local group of galaxies, M33 is also known as the Triangulum Galaxy and lies about 3 million light-years distant.

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