DR FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Small Magellanic Cloud. Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy of our galaxy the Milky Way. SMC lies about 185,000 light years away and has about one billion times the mass of the Sun. It has an irregular shape and is characterised by several star clusters and interstellar clouds of gas & dust (nebulae, small pink patches). Part of the SMC extends towards the Large Magellanic Cloud (not see here), 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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