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Small Magellanic Cloud

Small Magellanic Cloud

R840/0064

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Credit

ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Small Magellanic Cloud. Optical image of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) in the constellation Tucana, the toucan. North is at top. The SMC (centre left) is a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. It lies around 195,000 light years from Earth. To its right is the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, a huge ball of hundreds of thousands of stars which lies around 20,000 light years from Earth. The bright star at lower centre is Beta Hydri in the neighbouring constellation Hydrus, the little snake. These constellations are near the southern celestial pole, and are visible all year round from the southern hemisphere. They are never visible for northern observers.

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