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Small Magellanic Cloud as it has never been seen. Astronomy. Thanks to ESO’s VISTA telescope, images of exceptional accuracy were obtained from the Magellanic Small Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to the Milky Way, which will allow it to reconstruct its three-dimensional structure and the history of its formation.
The largest and most accurate analysis of the structure and composition of the Small Magellanic Cloud (or SMC) was carried out by an international group of researchers led by Stefano Rubele of the INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova (Italy) , Which illustrates the results and the technique they used in an article published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The research has, in particular, revealed that most of the stars within SMC have been formed much more recently by the stars in larger nearby galaxies. Magellan’s Little Cloud is a dwarf galaxy, containing a few hundred million stars and one of the two small galaxies of the Milky Way, which is only 200,000 light years, about a twelfth of the distance that separates us from Andromeda. Precisely this proximity makes it an ideal candidate for studying the formation and starving evolution, if not by the presence of a considerable amount of interstellar powders, which spread and absorb part of the radiation emitted by the stars, and particularly that in the spectrum Of the visible.
In their study, Rubel and colleagues used the VISTA (Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) telescope of the European Southern Observatory – located at the Paranal Observatory in Chile – which is capable of observing both visible and infrared light. The observation was carried out in the framework of a project – called VISTA of the Magellanic Clouds – to map the three-dimensional structure of the two Magellanic Clouds and reconstruct the history of their formation. The first results made it possible to produce a 1.6Gigapixel image of the Magellanic Small Cloud that provided a massive amount of information, which researchers have called “only a taste” of discoveries that will come, as the Survey will fill the voids of the map still present.
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