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Magellanic Clouds

Magellanic Clouds

R840/0063

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Credit

ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Magellanic Clouds. Optical image of the Magellanic Clouds, satellite galaxies of our Milky Way. North is at top. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is the fuzzy patch at centre left. The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is at lower right. The LMC is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way, lying around 170,000 light years away. The SMC is slightly more distant at around 195,000 light years. The bright star at upper left is Canopus (Alpha Carinae), the second brightest star in the sky. At upper right is the bright star Achernar (Alpha Eridani), the ninth brightest star in the sky. This area is best viewed in late spring in the southern hemisphere.

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