The Small Magellanic Cloud, or SMC, is one of two small
irregularly shaped satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way
Galaxy. This picture shows the SMC in a pseudo-color image,
with a contour plot added to show better definition of the
structure. This is an Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)
image of the 100 micron wavelength data.
It's close proximity to the Milky Way (about 150 thousand
light years) makes the Small Magellanic Cloud a prime object
for detailed studies of the properties of external galaxies.
INFRARED PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS CENTER