The Large Magellenic Cloud (LMC) - (PGC 17223)
The Large Magellenic Cloud is an irregular dwarf galaxy that is in orbit
around our own Milky Way galaxy.
It is irregularly shaped because it's being ripped apart by their close
proximity to the Milky Way. It will eventually collide with and be consumed by our
The Large Magellenic Cloud (the LMC) is a huge object in the sky. On
a dark clear night in summer in Australia it looks to the naked eye like a high dim cloud
(a real one) and most non-astronomers who even noticed it would think that's what it
Except for the clouds of our own Milky Way the LMC is our most visible
galaxy. The portion of it that is visible to the naked eye is 4 degrees wide (yes, 4
degrees) and from the Southern Hemisphere it is pretty easy to photograph if it is high in
the sky. The galaxy if you include the bits you can't see with the naked eye is a
9x3 degree oval with its long axis at right angles to the bright visible centre).
That's big. If there's not too much light pollution this object is easily viewed and
photographed from ordinary suburbia.
Perhaps the major feature of the LMC is the bright nebula NGC2070 (The Tarantula Nebula).
To see some closeup images of the Tarantula Nebula click here.
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