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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 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 after Andromeda, the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy.

It was formerly classified as irregular, but is currently considered a single-armed spiral galaxy and a galaxy classification variant 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 appear to contribute to its irregularity. A stream of gas exists between it and the Small Magellanic Cloud which is a star-forming region.


(galaxy,Local Group,spiral)
/Lookback Years
~050kpc163klyLarge Magellanic Cloud

Referenced by:
dwarf galaxy
galaxy classification
Local Group (LG)
MACHO Project
NGC 1866
satellite galaxy
SN 1987A (1987A)
spiral galaxy