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Magellanic Clouds

Nubeculae Magellani

Proper NamesLarge Magellanic Cloud, LMC, Nubecula Major
Small Magellanic Cloud, SMC, Nubecula Minor
Messier NumbersNone
NGC/IC NumberLarge: None
Small: NGC 292
ConstellationsLarge: Dorado and Mensa
Small: Tucana
Right AscensionCentred on:
Large: 5h 23m 50s
Small: 0h 58m 12s
DeclinationCentred on:
Large: -68° 47' 36"
Small: -72° 44' 51"
DistanceLarge: c.158,200 light years (c.48,500 parsecs)
Small: c.199,000 light years (c.61,000 parsecs)
MagnitudeLarge: Apparent: +0.6, Absolute: -17.8
Small: Apparent: +2.6, Absolute: -16.3
Mean DiameterLarge: Apparent: 16.3° (actual: c.14,000 light years)
Small: Apparent: 4.0° (actual: c.7,000 light years)
Hubble TypeSBm Barred Spiral (Magellanic)
Optimum VisibilityLarge: December / January
Small: October
(Both Clouds are usually visible from southern latitudes)
NotesNamed for the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the Magellanic Clouds are small galaxies in orbit around the Milky Way. Each has features suggesting a barred spiral structure, but both Clouds have been considerably deformed by their proximity to the much more massive Milky Way Galaxy.

This small-scale view shows both Magellanic Clouds. To the east (left) is the Large Magellanic Cloud, straddling the border between Dorado and Mensa, while to the west (lower right) is the Small Magellanic Cloud in Tucana. Most of the sky between the two Clouds is occupied by the constellation Hydrus. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas


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