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

Introduction

Companion galaxies are visible from southern skies.

About Magellanic Clouds

The two Magellanic Clouds (or Nubeculae Magellani) are a duo of 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:

  • Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)
  • Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)

Read more at Wikipedia

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