Messier Objects

M33 "Pinwheel Galaxy": Galaxy (Triangulum) RA: 01h 33.9m / DEC: +30° 39'.6
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M33, the Pinwheel galaxy, can be found about 7 degrees southeast of Beta Andromedae. You can also locate this delicate spiral by slewing 4.3 degrees west-northwest from 3.4 magnitude Metallah, Alpha Trianguli. Under dark transparent skies, M33 shows three spiral arms and several star formation (HII) regions in my 10-inch. The Pinwheel appears roughly 48'x20' at 36X (TeleVue 32-mm Plossl). The galaxy's core is 9'x4' in size and brightens toward the center. Spiral arms extend in a counter-clockwise rotation to the north and east. A third arm curves clockwise to the Southwest. About 50 stars are shown, the brightest being 8.1 magnitude HD 9483 which is stationed 17' due south of the Pinwheel's center. M33 is truly one of the gems of the night sky.

Instrument: 18-inch Obsession

I was treated to the view at left during a fine night on Anderson Mesa in late November 2005. My sketch presents a 109X view in the 18-inch Obsession. The spiral structure and subtle details are astounding. The most prominent arm extends northeast from the oval core region, terminating in the bright HII region, NGC 604. Several other stellar nurseries emerge during my hour-long observation, including NGC's 588, 592 and 595, and several more obscure HII regions: A4, A100, A101, A127 and A128. These emission regions trace the paths of the six spiral arms recorded in my drawing. M33 in large aperture under a dark sky presents all the delicate beauty one could hope to find in long exposure astroimage. Who needs electrons when photons and the eye paint the most remarkable image of all.

M31-Andromeda Galaxy, M32 and M110 M34


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Revised: February 10, 2002 [WDF]