Small Magellanic Cloud

Wise_wise2010-028_500

WISE_WISE2010-028 August 9th, 2010

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

This image captured by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) highlights the Small Magellanic Cloud. Also known as NGC 292, the Small Magellanic Cloud is a small galaxy about 200,000 light-years away.

The Small Magellanic Cloud is named after the Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magellan who observed it on his voyage around the world in 1519. Since it is visible to the naked eye in dark-sky conditions, it is likely that people in the southern hemisphere observed the galaxy long before Magellan recorded it.

Located in the constellation Tucana, the Small Magellanic Cloud looks like a wispy cloud that circles the south celestial pole. Nearby, but not visible in this image, is the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is a sister galaxy to the Small Magellanic Cloud. Astronomers originally thought that both galaxies were orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy. But recent research suggests that they might be moving too fast to be bound by the Milky Ways gravity and are passing by for the first time.

This WISE image illustrates why the Small Magellanic Cloud is considered an irregular galaxy. Galaxies are classified according to their shape, such as spiral or elliptical. Irregular galaxies dont fit into any of these categories -- they are unique in shape.

The two streaks seen in the upper half of the image are satellites orbiting Earth, which happened to pass in front of the Small Magellanic Cloud when WISE captured this view.

This mosaic image was made from all four infrared detectors aboard WISE. The color in this image represents different wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan represent light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns mostly emitted from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 microns, which is mostly light from warm dust.

Image Source: /image/WISE/WISE2010-028

Curator: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Berkeley, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Small Magellanic Cloud SMC NGC 292
Subject - Milky Way
Galaxy » Type » Barred
Galaxy » Type » Irregular
Galaxy » Size » Dwarf
Nebula » Type » Star Formation

Distance

Universescale1
97,000 light years
Wise_wise2010-028_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 0h 52m 25.1s
DEC = -73° 17’ 31.7”
Orientation
North is 24.9° CW
Field of View
4.5 x 3.5 degrees
Constellation
Tucana

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 3.4 µm
Arrow_left_cyan WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 4.6 µm
Arrow_left_green WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 12.0 µm
Arrow_left_red WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 22.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Wise_wise2010-028_1280
×
ID
WISE2010-028
Subject Category
B.5.1.2.   B.5.1.6.   B.5.2.2.   B.4.1.2.  
Subject Name
Small Magellanic Cloud, SMC, NGC 292
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Lightyears
97,000
Redshift
-
Reference Url
/image/WISE/WISE2010-028
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
WISE, WISE, WISE, WISE
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Cyan, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3400, 4600, 12000, 22000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
13.10456160, -73.2921265
Reference Dimension
5855, 4596
Reference Pixel
2907, 1981
Scale
-7.63999996700000e-04, 7.63999996700000e-04
Rotation
-24.94
Coordinate System Projection:
SIN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
URL
http://wise.astro.ucla.edu
Name
Email
outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
Telephone
Address
7 Gauss Way
City
Berkeley
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
94720
Country
USA
Rights
Pulic Domain
Publisher
Publisher ID
WISE
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/WISE/WISE2010-028
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2011-08-05
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

×
Universescalefull
97,000 light years