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Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

R840/0055

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Credit

CELESTIAL IMAGE CO. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CELESTIAL IMAGE CO. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Small Magellanic Cloud. True-colour optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud in the constellation Tucana. This is a small irregular satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way which lies around 195,000 light years from Earth. It contains several large star clusters and powerful nebulae, huge clouds of gas and dust which are thought to be the birthplace of stars. The round bright object at right is the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. This ball of old stars is not associated with the Small Magellanic Cloud. It lies only 20,000 light years away. This image was produced by digitally combining photographs taken by the UK Schmidt Telescope in blue and red light.

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