Messier 33


This photograph has been obtained by David Malin from photographic plates taken with the Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma.

M33 is a faint and extended galaxy with a small, almost starlike nucleus within the light haze of faint stars, which shines in the yellowish light of rather old population-II stars. Dark dust lanes can be traces well into the nucleus. From the nucleus, spiral arms reach out through the disk, which are populated by young hot blueish stars. They have formed from reddish diffuse nebulae, several of which are conspicuous in the arms of M33, and indicate that this galaxy currently experiences a vivid activity of star formation. Some of the blueish star clouds and reddish H II regions (diffuse nebulae) have been assigned by own NGC or IC numbers; have a look on our map to get identifications for some conspicuous ones.

This image was created from three photogrphic plates: Red and blue image were exposed 35 minutes each, the green image for 40 minutes exposure time. From the same original plates, David Malin has produced two alternative images: one deeper copy showing more of the faint stars in the outer disk, and one enhancing the fine features in the inner disk and near the nucleus.

This images is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at of the Anglo Australian Observatory.

  • More images by David Malin
  • This image was featured as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) July 21, 1998

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: 22 Feb 1998