Tag Archives: Small Magellanic Cloud

Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring 

Image Credit & Copyright: Rolando Ligustri (CARA Project, CAST)

 On October 19th, a good place to watch Comet Siding Spring will be from Mars. Then, this inbound visitor (C/2013 A1) to the inner solar system, discovered in January 2013 by Robert McNaught at Australia’s Siding Spring Observatory, will pass within 132,000 kilometers of the Red Planet. That’s a near miss, equivalent to just over 1/3 the Earth-Moon distance. Great views of the comet for denizens of planet Earth’s southern hemisphere are possible now, though. This telescopic snapshot from August 29 captured the comet’s whitish coma and arcing dust tail sweeping through southern skies. The fabulous field of view includes, the Small Magellanic Cloud and globular star clusters 47 Tucanae (right) and NGC 362 (upper left). Worried about all those spacecraft in Martian orbit? Streaking dust particles from the comet could pose a danger and controllers plan to position Mars orbiters on the opposite side of the planet during the comet’s close flyby.

APOD NASA 04-Sep-14

Small Magellanic Cloud


The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a dwarf galaxy. It is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy. It has a diameter of about 7,000 light-years and contains several hundred million stars. It has a total mass of approximately 7 billion times the mass of the Sun.

Some 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.

At a distance of about 200,000 light-years, it 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.

With a mean declination of approximately −73 degrees, it can only be viewed from the Southern Hemisphere and the lower latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. It is located in the constellation of Tucana and appears as a hazy, light patch in the night sky about 3 degrees across. It looks like a detached piece of the Milky Way. Since it has a very low surface brightness, it is best viewed from a dark site away from city lights.

It forms a pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which lies a further 20 degrees to the east. The Small Magellanic Cloud is a member of the Local Group.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Takahashi FSQ106 ED
Imaging cameras: NIKON D800
Mounts: Losmandy G11
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Saxon 80mm
Guiding cameras: The Imaging Source DMK41AF02.AS
Software: DeepSkyStacker, PHD guiding, photoshop
Dates: May 18, 2012
Frames: 11×300″
Integration: 0.9 hours

Author: Andrew Lockwood
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI
14 June 2014

Three Galaxies over New Zealand 

Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Mackinven

No, radio dishes cannot broadcast galaxies. Although they can detect them, the above image features a photogenic superposition during a dark night in New Zealand about two weeks ago. As pictured above, the central part of our Milky Way Galaxy is seen rising to the east on the image left and arching high overhead. Beneath the Galactic arc and just above the horizon are the two brightest satellite galaxies of our Milky Way, with the Small Magellanic Cloud to the left and the Large Magellanic Cloud on the right. The radio dish is the Warkworth Satellite Station located just north of Auckland.

NASA APOD 11-Jun-14

Open Cluster NGC 290: A Stellar Jewel Box 

Image Credit: ESA & NASA; Acknowledgement: E. Olszewski (U. Arizona)

Jewels don’t shine this bright — only stars do. Like gems in a jewel box, though, the stars of open cluster NGC 290 glitter in a beautiful display of brightness and color. The photogenic cluster, pictured above, was captured recently by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Open clusters of stars are younger, contain few stars, and contain a much higher fraction of blue stars than do globular clusters of stars. NGC 290 lies about 200,000 light-years distant in a neighboring galaxy called the Small Cloud of Magellan (SMC). The open cluster contains hundreds of stars and spans about 65 light years across. NGC 290 and other open clusters are good laboratories for studying how stars of different masses evolve, since all the open cluster’s stars were born at about the same time.

NASA APOD 08-Jun-14

Satellite Station and Southern Skies 

Image Credit & Copyright: James Garlick

This clear night skyscape captures the colorful glow of aurora australis, the southern lights, just outside the port city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, planet Earth. As if staring into the dreamlike scene, the Tasmanian Earth Resources Satellite Station poses in the center, illuminated by nearby city lights. Used to receive data from spacebased Earth observing instruments, including NASA’s MODIS and SeaWiFS, the station was decommissioned in 2011 and dismantled only recently, shortly after the picture was taken on April 30. Still shining in southern skies though, the central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy and two bright satellite galaxies the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds appear in the frame. The Small Magellanic Cloud shines through the fainter red auroral band.
NASA APOD 31-May-14

Magellanic Clouds

91ba4930da0ec2e0f1054cc770700cce.1824x0_q100_watermark_watermark_opacity-10_watermark_position-4_watermark_text-Copyright Hartmuth Kintzel

The two Magellanic Clouds (or Nubeculae Magellani) are irregular dwarf galaxies visible from the southern hemisphere, which are members of ourLocal Group and may be orbiting our Milky Way galaxy. Because they both show signs of a bar structure, they are often reclassified as Magellanic spiral galaxies.
The Large Magellanic Cloud and its neighbour and relative, the Small Magellanic Cloud, are conspicuous objects in the southern hemisphere, looking like separated pieces of the Milky Way to the naked eye. Roughly 21° apart in the night sky, the true distance between them is roughly 75,000 light-years. Until the discovery of the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy in 1994, they were the closest known galaxies to our own. The LMC lies about 160,000 light years away, while the SMC is around 200,000. The LMC is about twice the diameter of the SMC (14,000 ly and 7,000 ly respectively). For comparison, the Milky Way is about 100,000 ly across.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss X2
Mounts: Vixen Atlux
Filters: Baader IR EOS
Dates: July 31, 2011
Locations: Tivoli / Namibia
Frames: 5×240″ ISO800
Integration: 0.3 hours
Darks: ~5

Autor: Hartmuth Kintzel

04 March 2014

We select the best works of amateur astrophotographers with details of equipment, shooting processing etc.

From the Northern to the Southern Cross

Image Credit & Copyright: Nicholas Buer

Explanation: There is a road that connects the Northern to the Southern Cross but you have to be at the right place and time to see it. The road, as pictured above, is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy; the right place, in this case, is dark Laguna Cejar in Salar de Atacama of Northern Chile; and the right time was in early October, just after sunset. Many sky wonders were captured then, including the bright Moon, inside theMilky Way arch; Venus, just above the Moon; Saturn and Mercury, just below the Moon; the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds satellite galaxies, on the far left; red airglow near the horizon on the image left; and the lights of small towns at several locations across the horizon. One might guess that composing this 30-image panorama would have been a serene experience, but for that one would have required earplugs to ignore the continuedbrays of wild donkeys.
NASA APOD 27-Jan-2014