Dust and Gas in the Small Magellanic Cloud

Nhsc_nhsc2022-001c_1024

nhsc_nhsc2022-001c June 16th, 2022

Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/CSIRO/NANTEN2/C. Clark (STScI)

The Small Magellanic Cloud, shown here, is a dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way. The image includes data from the ESA (European Space Agency) Herschel mission, supplemented with data from ESAs retired Planck observatory and two retired NASA missions: the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE).

Operated from 2009 to 2013, Herschel detected wavelengths of light in the far-infrared and microwave ranges, and was ideal for studying dust in nearby galaxies because it could capture small-scale structures in the dust clouds in high resolution. However, Herschel often couldnt detect light from diffuse dust clouds especially in the outer regions of galaxies, where the gas and dust become sparse and thus fainter. As a result, the mission missed up to 30% of all the light given off by dust. Combining the Herschel observations with data from other observatories creates a more complete picture of the dust in the galaxy.

In the image, red indicates hydrogen gas; green indicates cold dust; and warmer dust is shown in blue. Launched in 1983, IRAS was the first space telescope to detect infrared light, setting the stage for future observatories like NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope. The Planck observatory, launched in 2009, and COBE, launched in 1989, both studied the cosmic microwave background, or light left over from the big bang.

The hydrogen gas was detected using the Parkes Radio Telescope and the Australia Compact Telescope Array, located in Australia and managed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); and the NANTEN2 Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Provider: Herschel Space Observatory

Image Source: https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/image/nhsc2022-001c

Curator: NASA Herschel Science Center, Pasadena, CA, United States

Image Use Policy: https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/page/image_use_policy

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Small Magellanic Cloud SMC
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Type > Irregular

Distance

Universescale2
204,000 light years
Nhsc_nhsc2022-001c_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 0h 57m 14.8s
DEC = -72° 48’ 21.6”
Orientation
North is 1.0° CCW
Field of View
4.4 x 4.4 degrees
Constellation
Tucana

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Herschel Infrared (Far-IR) 100.0 µm
Green Herschel Infrared (Far-IR) 350.0 µm
Red NANTEN2 Millimeter (CO (1-0)) 2.6 mm
Red Parkes Radio (HI) 210.0 mm
Extended emission data were also incorporated from IRAS, COBE, Planck, and ATCA
Spectrum_ir2
Blue
Green
Red
Red
Nhsc_nhsc2022-001c_1280
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ID
nhsc2022-001c
Subject Category
C.5.1.6.  
Subject Name
Small Magellanic Cloud, SMC
Credits
ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/CSIRO/NANTEN2/C. Clark (STScI)
Release Date
2022-06-16
Lightyears
204,000
Redshift
204,000
Reference Url
https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/image/nhsc2022-001c
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Herschel, Herschel, NANTEN2, Parkes
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Millimeter, Radio
Bandpass
Far-IR, Far-IR, CO (1-0), HI
Central Wavelength
100000, 350000, 2600000, 210000000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
E
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
14.31165, -72.8060021
Reference Dimension
4950, 4950
Reference Pixel
2475, 2475
Scale
-0.0008888, 0.0008888
Rotation
1.02
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NASA Herschel Science Center
URL
https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91225
Country
United States
Rights
https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/page/image_use_policy
Publisher
NASA Herschel Science Center
Publisher ID
nhsc
Resource ID
Metadata Date
2022-07-22T05:14:09Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
204,000 light years