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Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

R840/0049

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Credit

DR LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The Small Magellanic Cloud. Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy of our galaxy the Milky Way. SMC lies at a distance of about 185,000 light years and has a mass about one billion times the mass of the Sun. It has an irregular shape and is characterised by several star clusters and nebulae (small pink patches). Part of SMC extends towards the Large Magellanic Cloud, another satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, possibly due to its gravitational attraction. The bright, round object at centre right is 47 Tucanae. It is a globular star cluster found in our galaxy at a distance of about 20,000 light years.

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