The central part of the Small Magellanic Cloud

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  12" ASA: LRGB 12" ASA: annotated map 12" ASA: crop on NGC 346    
  Size: 2000 px Size: 2000 px Size: 2000 px    
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© Velimir Popov & Emil Ivanov 2014

At a distance of about 200,000 light-years, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is one of the Milky Way's nearest neighbors. It is also one of the most distant objects that can be seen with the naked eye. Located in the constellation of Tucana, it appears as a hazy, light patch in the night sky about 3 degrees across. It looks like a detached piece of the Milky Way. SMC is a dwarf irregular galaxy, which has a diameter of about 7,000 light-years and contains several hundred million stars. The total mass of SMC is approximately 7 billion times the mass of the Sun. Some astronomers speculate that the SMC was once a barred spiral galaxy that was disrupted by the Milky Way to become somewhat irregular. It contains a central bar structure.
This four panel mosaic shows the central part of the SMC. Several star clusters and H II regions could be seen on the image. For reference, please chech the annotated map.
The brightest and biggest object whithin SMC is NCC 346 (see the crop). This is a star-forming region. The light, wind and heat given off by massive stars have dispersed the glowing gas within and around this star cluster, forming a surrounding wispy nebular structure that looks like a cobweb. Deeper image of NGC 346 can be foun here.


Image details:


Center of field RA 01:00:49(h:m:s)
Center of field DE -72:20:440 (deg:m:s)
Size 1.76 x 1.32 (deg)
Pixel scale: 1.03 (arcsec/pixel)
Orientation: Up is 178 degrees E of N
Charts and image details obtained from
Optic(s): ASA 12" f 3,6 Astrograph (ASA)
Mount: ASA DDM85
Camera: FLI MicroLine 8300 CCD camera
Filters: Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, Astrodon filters
Dates/Times: 24 - 29 August 2014
Location: Namibia-TIVOLI ASTROFARM, S 23° 27' 40,9" / E 18° 01' 02,2"
Exp. Details: L:3x10min,R:3x10min, G:3x10min, B:3x10min,, Bin1, Four panel mosaic
  Total Exposure Time - 480 min
More details: Dark and flat frames reduction,
Processing: PixInsight / PS
Copyright: Velimir Popov and Emil Ivanov 2014. All Rights Reserved
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