MOUNT STROMLO AND SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MOUNT STROMLO AND SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Magellanic Clouds. Enhanced optical image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC, left) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC, right). Both these galaxies are in orbit around our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The LMC is about 170,000 light years away, with the SMC slightly more distant; about 185,000 light years away. They both contain large areas of pink nebulosity. These are starbirth regions of dense gas ionised by very young, hot stars embedded in them. To the right of the SMC is the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae. This image was produced by a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera, which stores images electronically rather than on film.
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