NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Optical photograph of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The SMC is one of two irregular, dwarf galaxies which are satellites of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The SMC is some 150,000 light years distant. Together with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), it is named after the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, who first described them during his circumnavigation of the globe in 1519. The photograph was taken with a 61-cm telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-american Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.
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