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)
Companion galaxies are visible from southern skies.
Tomorrow's World reports on the exploded star.
In 1987 Judith Hann and Maggie Philbin report on the exploded star called Supernova 1987a.
Patrick Moore discusses Supernova 1987a.
Sir Patrick Moore discusses Supernova 1987a.
Patrick Moore discusses the Magellanic Clouds.
Sir Patrick Moore discusses the Magellanic Clouds, supernovae, and other sights.
Patrick Moore discusses supernovae and the famous Crab.
Sir Patrick Moore and his guest Professor Sir Francis Graham-Smith discuss supernovae that create clouds of gas like the famous Crab Nebula.
Supernova 1987a allows astronomers to closely study an exploding star.
The light from Supernova 1987a, an exploding star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to the Milky Way, reached the Earth in 1987. The Hubble Space Telescope, referred to as "space telescope" in this clip, was used to study the supernova remnant.
The two Magellanic Clouds (or Nubeculae Magellani) are irregular dwarf galaxies visible from the southern hemisphere, which are members of our Local Group and may be orbiting our Milky Way galaxy. Because they both show signs of a bar structure, they are often reclassified as Magellanic spiral galaxies. The two galaxies are: