Magellanic Clouds

The Large Magellanic Cloud

Magellanic Clouds

The Magellanic Clouds, known separately as the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), are companion galaxies to the Milky Way and can be spotted without a telescope in southern skies.

The LMC lies at a distance of about 160,000 light years, and the SMC is about 190,000 light years away. In 1987 astronomers identified an exploding star called Supernova 1987a in the LMC. This was a very important event because 1987a was the nearest supernova observed by astronomers since 1604.

Image: Part of the Large Magellanic Cloud with Supernova 1987a near the image's centre (credit: The Hubble Heritage Team AURA/STScI/NASA)

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The Large Magellanic Cloud


Companion galaxies are visible from southern skies.

About Magellanic Clouds

The Magellanic Clouds (or Nubeculae Magellani) are two irregular dwarf galaxies visible from the southern hemisphere; they are members of the Local Group and are orbiting the Milky Way galaxy. Because they both show signs of a bar structure, they are often reclassified as Magellanic spiral galaxies. The two galaxies are:

  • Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), about 160,000 light-years away
  • Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), about 200,000 light years away

Read more at Wikipedia

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