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The Triangulum Galaxy

Overshadowed by M31, M33 still offers great views.
Whenever I give a guided tour of the constellations, whether to my college students, friends, or the general public, I’m always quick to add that few of these star patterns resemble the figures for which they are named.

But one obvious exception to that rule lies high in the December evening sky. Even the most cynical eye can see a triangle among the stars of Triangulum!

Nestled to the south of Andromeda, Triangulum doesn’t contain any stars brighter than 3rd-magnitude Beta (β) Trianguli. Yet the constellation is still easy to pick out, thanks to its simple shape and stark surroundings.

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