M33 (NGC 598)

M33—“The Pinwheel Galaxy”—is a very distant and large spiral galaxy, seen face-on. It's some 3.6 million light years away with an apparent size larger than the full Moon, and has a reported visual magnitude of 5.7, which means it can actually be seen with the naked eye under perfect conditions. Yet telescope users have reported difficulty in viewing M33 due to its vast surface area.

In fact, M33 is particularly suited to binoculars, although very large telescopes will help to bring in various star clusters and nebulae, all found within the galaxy.

The galaxy is in the same field as alpha Trianguli: binoculars.

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© 1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.