Aiming at providing a firm mean distance estimate to the SMC, and thus to place it within the internally consistent Local Group distance framework we recently established, we compiled the current largest database of published distance estimates to the galaxy. Based on careful statistical analysis, we derive mean distance estimates to the SMC using eclipsing binary systems, variable stars, stellar population tracers, and star cluster properties. Their weighted mean leads to a final recommendation for the mean SMC distance of (m- M)0SMC = 18.96 ± 0.02 mag, where the uncertainty represents the formal error. Systematic effects related to lingering uncertainties in extinction corrections, our physical understanding of the stellar tracers used, and the SMC's complex geometry-including its significant line of sight depth, its irregular appearance which renders definition of the galaxy's center uncertain, as well as its high inclination and possibly warped disk-may contribute additional uncertainties possibly exceeding 0.15-0.20 mag.
- astronomical databases: miscellaneous
- distance scale
- galaxies: distances and redshifts
- galaxies: individual (Small Magellanic Cloud)