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Small Magellanic Cloud

SMC, Nubecula Minor, NGC 292

Proper NamesSmall Magellanic Cloud, SMC, Nubecula Minor
Messier NumberNone
NGC/IC NumberNGC 292
Right AscensionCentred on 0h 52m 38s
DeclinationCentred on -72° 48' 1"
Distancec.199,000 light years
c.61,000 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +2.7
Absolute: -16.2
Mean DiameterApparent: 5.0° x 3.0°
Actual: c.17,400 light years
Hubble TypeSBm Barred Spiral (Magellanic)
Optimum VisibilityOctober (Usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesThe Small Magellanic Cloud is a galaxy of the type known as Magellanic spirals, showing a generally spiral form, but heavily disrupted. In the case of the SMC, this deformation is caused by the proximity of the Milky Way Galaxy, and potentially also by interaction with the Large Magellanic Cloud in the distant past.

Roughly a quarter of a million light years from the Solar System, well outside our own galaxy, lies one of its two 'companions', the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Map of the Small Magellanic Cloud Map of the Small Magellanic Cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud has been deformed over the ages, but some semblance of its original spiral shape can still be glimpsed. The bright orb of stars in the far west of this image is 47 Tucanae, a globular cluster about fourteen thousand light years from the Sun, but this still places it in the near foreground by comparison with the distant Magellanic Cloud beyond. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


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