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The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

R840/0042

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Credit

LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The Magellanic Clouds. Optical image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC top left) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). They are small galaxies in orbit around our own galaxy, the Milky Way. LMC is at a distance of about 160,000 light years from the Earth and its mass is estimated to be some 10 billion times the mass of the Sun. SMC is less massive (about one billion times the mass of the Sun) and lies at a distance of about 185,000 light years. Stars in the LMC and SMC are generally younger than the stars in our galaxy and gas and dust are more plentiful than in the Milky Way. The bright object to the right of the SMC is 47 Tucanae, a globular star cluster of the Milky Way.

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