The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
AAO image reference UKS 14a.    « Previous || Next »

The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud, and NGC 2070
Top left is NE. Image width is about 3.3 degrees
Image and text © 2000-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

Star-forming regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) stretch far from its most obvious feature the bright elongated 'bar', seen at the bottom of this photograph. This rich litter of young stars is the result of the interaction of the LMC with its near neighbour, the Small Magellanic Cloud, and probably with the Milky Way itself. Some of these young clusters and star-forming regions are the subject of more detailed images listed under Related Images below. The Large Magellanic Cloud 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 in the constellation of Dorado, rather like a detached piece of the Milky Way. 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. This is easily seen with the unaided eye and appears as bright as the Orion nebula, though it is 100 times more distant.

Related images
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 14.   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