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NGC 292 - the small Magelanic Cloud (SMC) together with NGC 104 and NGC 362
 

 
Description of object:

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is an irregular dwarf galaxy, possibly gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. Because of its nearness to the Milky Way, it therefore belongs to the local group. The distance to the solar system is about 200,000 light years and the SMC contains about 5 billion suns. It has the NGC number 292.

Our wide angle image shows (right) the large globular cluster NGC 104 (Type III), also known as 47 Tucanae. It is easily visible with the naked eye. 47 Tucanae is the second brightest globular cluster after Omega Centauri. It is located about 17,000 light years away from the solar system and is therefore not part of the Magellanic Cloud. At the top of the image there is NGC 362, also a globular cluster of type III. With a distance of about 27,000 light-years from the solar system NGC 362 is not part of the small Magellanic Cloud either.

The two brightest objects within the Magellanic Cloud are (left) NGC 395, an open star cluster and (right) NGC 346, a diffuse nebula. Even to the naked eye the Small Magellanic Cloud is a prominent feature of the southern night sky.

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