Small Magellanic Cloud is the topic of Part #3 of our image presentation, where we want to share the results from our astrophotography-trip to the Hacienda Los Andes in Chile.
With the first three images we want to show you the appearance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, if you take photos with different focal lengths. The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC = NGC 292 = Nubecula Minor) is an irregular dwarf galaxy. It has a total mass of approximately 7 billion times the mass of our Sun. At a distance of about 200,000 lightyears, it is one of the Milky Way's nearest neighbors. The SMC forms a pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which lies a further 20 degrees to the east (not visible in these images).
NGC 456 is a small open star cluster with an associated emission nebula embedded in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). It is accompanied by the ionized HII regions DEM S 149, DEM S 150, DEM S 152, DEM S 156, DEM S 158 and DEM S 159. Other open clusters near NGC 456 are: NGC 465, IC 1662, Lindsay 91 and Lindsay 93. A completely different object east of the SMC is the globular cluster NGC 104 (also known as 47 Tucanae) which is the second brightest globular cluster (after Omega Centauri) in the night sky. It consits of more than 500,000 stars and at a magnitude of +4.5 it can be easily seen with the naked eye.
A very interesting oject is the starburst galaxy NGC 1313. Why is ist so topsy-turvy? Usually this is the result from a recent collision with a neighboring galaxy, however NGC 1313 appears to be alone. Strange features of NGC 1313 include that its spiral arms are lopsided and its rotational axis is not at the center of the nuclear bar. The dense clustering of bright stars and gas in its arms is a sign of an ongoing boom of star births. The galaxy lies just 15 million light-years away from our Milky Way and spans about 50,000 light years. It is often described as a galaxy in transition between the Magellanic-type galaxies and normal disk galaxies such as M33.
The last image shows the constellation Tucana (Tuc), the home-constellation of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).