Depending on where you are in the world this may be an amazing night for the amateur stargazer in you. Yup, tonight is the peak of the Annual Perseid Meteor Shower, at least it is on the West-Coast.
For everyone else, here’s some pretty things to look at on a lazy Saturday afternoon: Head on over to Catching the Light: Showcase of Film Astrophotography by Jerry Lodriguss
In a telescope, or on long-exposure photographs, M33 is a very large, beautiful, face-on spiral galaxy. Under very dark and transparent skies, M33 can be seen with the unaided eye by keen-eyed observers as a small faint smudge of light.
Several emission nebulae inside of M33 can be seen as pink patches in this photo. The largest and most prominent emission nebula is NGC 604 which is nearly 1,500 light-years in diameter. Such clouds are star factories where gas condenses under gravitational attraction and stars are born. It is one of the largest clouds of ionized hydrogen gas in the known universe.