Northern Panorama

M33 Triangulum Galaxy

Common name: Messier 33, Triangulum Galaxy
Constellation: Triangulum
Right ascension: 01h 33m 50.02s
Declination: +30° 39′ 36.7″
Distance: 2.73 Mly
Apparent magnitude: 5.72
Type: SA(s)cd
Size: 60 000 ly (diameter)

M33 Triangulum Galaxy


The M33 galaxy is a beautiful spiral galaxy in the constellation Triangulum. At a distance of 2.73 million light-years, It’s one of the most distant objects that is possible to see with your naked eyes, although you have to have good vision and a really dark sky.

M33 is the third-largest galaxy in the Local galaxy group after the Andromeda galaxy and our own Milky way galaxy.

The image data for this version of the galaxy was collected on September 9, 2021, from a Bortle 1-2 spot near Piertinjaure in the Arctic Part of Swedish Lapland. It was an exciting evening with some northern lights, but I also witnessed a Soyuz rocket launch (watch YouTube video below).

During this session, I used a Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED DS-pro telescope, a Sky-Watcher EQ6R-pro mount, and the ZWO ASI 2600MC Pro OSC camera. No filters were used.

Total integration time: 130 minutes (26×300 seconds). My goal was to collect at least three hours, but some thin clouds came. I have stacked the light frames with dark, flat, and bias frames in AstroPixelProcessor for Mac and created a Master Fits-file that I processed further in APP.

When done with the processing, I exported the file to a 16-bit Tiff in ProPhotoRGB and upscaled it in Topaz Gigapixel. This adds some sharpness and reduces noise in the image. I then increase some colors in Adobe Photoshop, especially enhances the blue and magenta hues. Then I made some curve adjustments to adjust contrast in the galaxy, as well as in the overall image.

In the last step, I downscale the image to the resolution I want, ad some sharpness with Topaz Sharpness, and saves it as an 8-bit sRGB png- och jpeg file.

Image Details

Telescope: Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED DS-pro
Mount: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R pro
Camera: ZWO ASI 2600MC pro
Guide Scope: Sky-Watcher Evoguide 50
Guide Camera: ZWO ASI mini
Focuser: ZWO EAF
Control Unit: ZWO ASIAir pro
Integration: 2 hours 10 minutes (26×300 seconds)
Processing software: AstroPixelProcessor, Topaz Labs, Adobe Photoshop
Processing computer: MacBook Pro M1

Observation spots

There are some great Bortle 1-2 spots near city Jokkmokk north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland.