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Messier 33 - The Triangulum Galaxy | DSLR & OSC Astrophotography

Updated: May 18, 2023

The Triangulum Galaxy is a bright spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum. It is one of the most popular objects for beginner amateur astrophotographers.

Object Designation: M33

Also known as: The Triangulum Galaxy

Constellation: Triangulum

Object type: Spiral Galaxy

Distance: 2,300,000 light-years away

Magnitude: 5.7

Discovered in: 1764

Like the Andromeda Galaxy, the Triangulum Galaxy is visible with the naked eye, in extremely dark skies far from any light pollution. As we explained in Episode 4 of Galactic Hunter, the Andromeda galaxy is doomed to crash with our own, the Milky Way. M33's fate is no better. The Triangulum galaxy will get stuck in the gravitational pull of the impact, and orbit the new Milkomeda until finally crashing into it. In the end, our Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy, and the Triangulum galaxy... will only be one.

Messier 33 astrophotography QHY128C

M33 is the second apparent largest, and brightest galaxy to photograph in the night sky. 

The Triangulum galaxy fits perfectly in a telescope that has a focal length of 800mm (see photos below) and a good result can be achieved with just 1-3 hours of exposure depending on the camera. We recommend doing 5+ minute exposures in order to capture faint details, including the huge NGC 604 in one of the spiral arms of M33.


The Triangulum Galaxy with a Cooled One-Shot-Color (OSC) Camera

July 20, 2020

Almost four years later, in July 2020, we took a trip to Landers, CA to visit the OPTeam. You can watch our fun video about that weekend HERE.

Landers has a very similar light pollution level as our usual imaging spot from our first attempt (Bortle 3 to Bortle 4) and we used the exact same telescope to capture Messier 33 again!

The main difference here was the camera. Instead of using our Canon 7D Mark II DSLR camera, we used the QHY128C which is a cooled One-Shot-Color camera. We unboxed and reviewed this camera on our YouTube channel and show you a lot of images taken with it!

We did not process the data for a while, as we only had a few frames on that target. We decided to take a few more from our usual imaging location when we were back in Las Vegas. We recorded that part for the Galactic Course, where the second segment of Season 1 is all about imaging a galaxy with a reflector telescope and a cooled One-Shot-Color camera!

As you can see in the image below, the result is fantastic! What blew my mind is the fact that this was only 70 minutes of total exposure, while our image with a DSLR camera was more than 3 hours!