ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / AATB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL OBSERVATORY, EDINBURGH / AATB / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), an irregular satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. It lies about 200,000 light years from Earth. Many HII regions (bright smeared white and pink areas) are present in SMC. They are formed by clouds of hydrogen lit up by young, hot stars. Many globular star clusters (small round objects) are scattered throughout SMC. SMC forms an interacting pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The globular star cluster 47 Tucanae (NGC 104), at far centre right, is a member of our own galaxy.
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