Astronomy Picture of the Day
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September 19, 1995
The Small Cloud of Magellan
Photograph made from plates taken with the
UK Schmidt Telescope.
Colour photography by David Malin.
Almost unknown to casual observers in the northern hemisphere,
sky contains two diffuse wonders known as the
The Magellanic Clouds are small irregular
galaxies orbiting our
own larger Milky Way spiral galaxy.
The Small Magellanic Cloud
(SMC), pictured here,
is about 250,000 light years away and
contains a preponderance of young, hot, blue stars indicating it has
undergone a recent period of star formation.
There is evidence that the SMC is actually two
galaxies superposed to appear as one.
The bright blob near
the right hand edge of the frame is a
globular cluster near the
outskirts of the Milky Way.
Tomorrow's picture: GL 105C: The Coolest Star?
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