The Small Magellanic Cloud

Small Magellanic Cloud

SMC Galaxy

This is an image of a region near the core of the Small Magellanic Cloud, or SMC. This image also shows emission nebulae NGC 261 and NGC 249. The SMC contains a number of star clusters and nebulae that are visible using amateur size telescopes. The magnificent 47 Tucanae globular star cluster is located only about 2-1/2 degrees west of the SMC.

The Small Magellanic Cloud is an irregular dwarf galaxy that is gravitationally bound as a satellite to our Milky Way Galaxy. This nearby galaxy is visible to the naked eye and is located 22 degrees away from the Large Magellanic Cloud. The SMC is rated at magnitude 2.2. The SMC appears as a misty cloud about three and a half degrees in diameter. Both the SMC and the LMC are located close to the south celestial pole, and consequently are only visible from the sourthern hemisphere. The SMC is gravitationally bound to our galaxy, and is part of the Local Group that includes the Andromeda Galaxy, M33, M110, M32, and the LMC. The SMC is about 180,000 light-years away. The SMC was discovered by Portuguese seamen who sailed into the southern hemisphere in the 15th century, and was named in honor of Ferdinand Magellan.

This is an RGB CCD image taken with a Takahashi FS-78 refractor and ST-8XE CCD.

Constellation: Tucana
RA: 00h 52m 40s Dec: -72d 48' 34"
September 4, 2005
Image by Sid Leach
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

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