Image Credit: Oriol Lehmkuhl and Ivette Rodríguez (Astrosurf)

This colorful island universe is none other than the Triangulum Galaxy (also known as Messier 33); one of about 50 galaxies — along with the Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda — that compose the local group.

Situated approximately 3 million light-years from Earth in a constellation of the same name, Triangulum is one of our nearest neighbors, it's so close, even, that astronomers speculate that it might be Andromeda's companion (much in the same way that the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Clouds are our galaxy's companions).

Of those 50 odd galaxies, Triangulum is the third largest behind our galaxy and Andromeda, spanning about 50,000 light-years across (this almost makes it larger than the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds combined).

See a larger image here.

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