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Triangulum Galaxy Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the mysterious Triangulum galaxy. Read on to find out about the mystery molecules that scientists can't identify and find out what they have to do with the Triangulum galaxy.

Triangulum Galaxy

The Triangulum galaxy is one of the closest galaxies to our Milky Way galaxy. Do you see how close that name is to ''triangle?'' Although the galaxy isn't shaped like a triangle, it was named Triangulum because it's in the Triangulum constellation, whose three brightest stars form a triangle.

Pinwheel Galaxy

The Triangulum galaxy, also known as M33, is sometimes called the Pinwheel galaxy because of its shape. It has a bulge in the center with arms swirling out from it, like a pinwheel. This type of galaxy is called a spiral galaxy. Some spiral galaxies look like they have a bar in the center of the bulge; they're called barred spiral galaxies. Astronomers, the scientists who study stars and other space objects, aren't sure if the Triangulum galaxy has a bar in it or not. If it does have one, it's very difficult to see.

Triangulum Galaxy
triang

One of the reasons it's hard for us to see the Triangulum galaxy is it's turned toward our Milky Way galaxy, so it looks almost flat to us. This makes it difficult to see parts of the galaxy and it also makes the galaxy much dimmer, so it's hard for us to see it in our night sky.

Triangulum and Andromeda

Another galaxy that's not far from our Milky Way galaxy is called the Andromeda galaxy. Scientists have found that the Andromeda galaxy and the Triangulum galaxy are connected. They think that the Triangulum galaxy might actually orbit, or circle around, the Andromeda galaxy so slowly that we can't even tell that it's happening.

The Triangulum galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are expected to collide or otherwise interact with each other in about 2.5 billion years. Astronomers aren't sure what will happen to the Triangulum galaxy when that happens.

Billions of Stars

There are over 40 billion stars in the Triangulum galaxy, which is a lot, but not as many as we have in our Milky Way galaxy, which has 400 billion stars. The Andromeda galaxy has even more, with one trillion (which is 1,000 billion) stars.

NGC 604 Nebula
ngc

The Triangulum galaxy includes a nebula, which is a huge cloud of gases and dust. Called NGC 604, this nebula is a massive star factory. It contains over 200 extremely hot stars up to 60 times larger than our sun. There are other star-making areas scattered throughout the arms of the Triangulum galaxy.

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