The Large Magellanic Cloud (wide field)
AAO image reference UKS 14.    « Previous || Next »

The Large Magellanic Cloud, LMC
Top left is NE. Image width is about 6 degrees. Image and text © 1984-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way but less than one tenth as massive; even so it contains the equivalent of over ten billion solar masses of material in the form of stars, gas and dust. The LMC is at a distance of 170,000 light years and is visible to the unaided eye from southern latitudes, with an apperance rather like a detached piece of the Milky Way, in the otherwise barren constellation of Dorado.

The nearness of the LMC ensures that it is well resolved into stars in quite a modest telescope, and deep photographs reveal it to be a highly complex system with large numbers of clusters, nebulae and dust clouds scattered apparently at random across the face of the galaxy. The bright red patch at the eastern end of the galaxy is the star-forming region 30 Doradus, in the Tarantula nebula. This is easily seen with the unaided eye from southern latitudes and appears as bright as the Orion nebula, though it is 100 times more distant.

Related images
MISC 21.   The two Magellanic Clouds
UKS 17.     The Small Magellanic Cloud
AAT 33.     The Henize 70 Nebula in the LMC
AAT 44.     The Tarantula nebula in the LMC
AAT 68.     The bright stars around 30 Doradus in the LMC
UKS 14a.   The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 15.     The 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
UKS 15a.   Around the 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
UKS 16.     Star Clouds North of the LMC
UKS 27.     The NGC 1929-1937 (Henize 44) nebula in the LMC
UKS 28.     The NGC 2014 (Henize 55) nebula in the LMC
Constellation of Dorado (external site)

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25