Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)
Abr-e Bozorg-e Magellan (#)
Fr.: Grand Nuage de Magellan
The larger of the two Magellanic Clouds dwarf irregular galaxies visible in the southern hemisphere in constellations → Dorado and → Mensa. The LMC spans 8° on the sky, which corresponds to about 20,000 → light-years in diameter, for a distance of some 170,000 light-years. It has a visible mass of about one-tenth that of our own Galaxy. The LMC and its twin, the → Small Magellanic Cloud, are two of our most prominent Galactic neighbours.
→ large; Magellanic named in honor of Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese navigator (c 1480-1521), who undertook the first voyage around the world. The two Clouds were first described by Magellan's chronicler Pigafetta, after leaving the Strait of Magellan in 1520; → cloud.