Astrophysics (index)

Large Magellanic Cloud

(irregular satellite galaxy of the Milky Way)

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a Satellite Galaxy orbiting the Milky Way, about 160,000 light-years away. It is the third closest Galaxy, after the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy (Sgr dE) and Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. Its mass is about 10 billion solar masses, about 1/100 as massive as the Milky Way. Its diameter is 14,000 light-years and it the fourth largest galaxy in the Local Group (LG) after Andromeda (M31), the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33).

It was formerly classified as irregular, but is currently considered a single-armed Spiral Galaxy and a Galaxy Classification has been invented for its morphology: Magellanic Spiral Galaxy ("Magellanic" indicated by an appended lower-case "m").

Interaction with the Milky Way and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) appear to contribute to its irregularity. A stream of gas exists between it and the Small Magellanic Cloud which is a Star-Forming Region (SFR).


(galaxy,Local Group,spiral)
/Lookback Years
~048kpc157klyLarge Magellanic Cloud

Referenced by:
Dwarf Galaxy
Galaxy Classification
Local Group (LG)
NGC 1866
Satellite Galaxy
SN 1987A (1987A)