There are many collections of stars within the night time sky that may kind the form of a triangle. The enormous Summer Triangle is one, and the Triangulum Australe within the Southern Hemisphere is one other. Triangulum the Triangle is a constellation in northern skies which you can finest spot in late autumn or early winter. It lies to the northeast of the Great Square of Pegasus and beneath the “W” form of Cassiopeia.
Historical Romans noticed the small and considerably dim form of a triangle. The Romans seen Triangulum as Sicily, a close-by island with a triangular form. For historic Hebrews, Triangulum was a shalish, a musical instrument with three strings.
Main stars of Triangulum
The important thing stars in Triangulum are the three that mark the corners of the triangle. The star Alpha Trianguli shines at magnitude 3.42. Alpha lies 64 light-years from Earth. The Alpha stars aren’t at all times the brightest in constellations, and that is true for Triangulum. Alpha is barely the second brightest star on this constellation.
The following two stars within the corners of the triangle are shut collectively. Beta and Gamma Trianguli lie two degrees aside. The pair lie rather less than seven levels from Alpha. Beta Trianguli, or Mizan, is the brightest star in Triangulum. It’s magnitude 3.0, and it lies 124 light-years away. Gamma Trianguli is magnitude 4.02 and lies 118 light-years away.
The Triangulum galaxy
Whereas there are a selection of dim galaxies in Triangulum, there may be actually just one right here that pulls the eye of novice astronomers. It’s one of many brighter galaxies within the sky: the Triangulum galaxy. It additionally has the nickname of the Pinwheel galaxy, however that may get complicated as a result of there’s one other galaxy with the identical identify in Ursa Main. The Triangulum galaxy is M33 or NGC 598. M33 is simply over 4 levels from Alpha Trianguli, within the path of the Great Square of Pegasus.
Should you attempt to observe M33 by a telescope, it has low floor brightness, so be sure you are in a web site with out gentle air pollution and your eyes have had an opportunity to regulate. It is best to see a little bit of a brighter central oval form and a dimmer glow smudged round it. See if you may make out any of its curving arms.
A close-by galaxy
So far as galaxies go, M33 is slightly near us, at 3 million light-years distant. Thus, we’re seeing the galaxy not because it seems right this moment, however because it did 3 million years in the past, which is how lengthy it took the sunshine touring from the galaxy to achieve us.
Backside line: The constellation Triangulum lies near overhead in northern skies on December evenings. It comprises the Triangulum galaxy, a beautiful pinwheeling spiral.