NGC292 Small Magellanic Cloud; Tucana
Astro Physics 155 EDF f/5.3 refractor
KAF-16803; FLI Proline
Total Exposure Time: 10+ hours; LHaRGB 200:100:90:110:110 minutes, unbinned
August 2008; Gleason/Davis Observatory, MRO, Victoria, AU
Comments: Like its larger apparent neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Small Magellanic Cloud was certainly known to the ancient southerners, and was probably mentioned by Amerigo Vespucci in a letter written during his third voyage about 1503-4, but became known to us only when Magellan went on his journey around the world, in 1519. The main body of the Small Magellanic Cloud has been assigned NGC 292. It orbits our Milky Way galaxy at about 210,000 light years distance, which makes it the third-nearest external galaxy known (after the LMC and the 1994 discovered Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy). The SMC is of irregular type. It may be a distorted barred disk, deformed by the tidal gravitational forces of Milky Way and LMC, but this is not sure. It contains several nebulae and star clusters which can be seen in photographs and through telescopes. Our small neighboring galaxy contains the same kinds of objects as our Milky Way, in particular open clusters, diffuse nebulae, supernova remnants, planetary nebulae, and the globular cluster, NGC 121. It is situated well outside the denser regions of the galaxy, slightly north but not far from the galactic foreground globular 47 Tucanae (NGC 104) (SEDS).