Small Magellanic Cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud is about 210,000 light years away. It is an irregular galaxy, with little structure. It is easily visible to the naked eye, even in moderate moonlight. The Small Magellanic Cloud contains only a few open clusters and one emission nebula that are bright enough for viewing in a small telescope. Nevertheless, it is still a wonderful object for studying with almost any optical aid.

The large, bright object to the left of the SMC is the spectacular globular cluster, NGC 104.

The animation is composed of 50, 5 second exposures. At the time of the images, the Cloud was less than 15 degrees above the horizon. As a result, the background sky changes brightness quite markedly across the field. There is one satellite visble and some thin clouds can be seen to dissipate.