Globular Cluster, 47 Tucanae

Arguably the finest object of its kind in the sky and easily visible to the naked eye, 47 Tucanae is a spectacular sight even in 15cm class telescopes. It then resolves easily into hundreds of the most delicate cream coloured stars surrounding a dense unresolved core. It is located in the southern constellation of Tucana and, by coincidence, just happens to lie close to the line of sight of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), to which it is not associated, being much closer at 16,000ly away. 47 Tucanae is about 120ly across, contains an estimated 3 million stars and is 13 billion years old.

Close inspection of the image, however, reveals at least three smaller partly resolved clusters of stars, that are associated with the SMC; these are some of our satellite galaxy's globular clusters situated at the distance of the SMC, some 240,000ly away.

 

Camera: SBIG STL11000M, Astrodon filters Scope: Takahashi TOA-130, f=1000mm, f7.7 (fov ~2.0x1.3)
Mount: Takahashi EM-200 Temma2 Guiding: External (E-finder)
Filters/Exposures: R:G:B = 11x1:13x1:12x1min ≡ 36m Location: LMDSS Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
Date: February 2016 Processing: CCDStack2, RegiStar and Photoshop CS5