Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty
of time to study the southern sky during the
first circumnavigation of planet Earth.
As a result, two celestial wonders
easily visible for southern hemisphere skygazers
are known as the Clouds of Magellan.
These cosmic clouds are now understood to be dwarf
of our larger spiral Milky Way Galaxy.
actually spans 15,000 light-years or so
and contains several hundred million stars.
About 210,000 light-years away in the constellation
it is more distant than other known Milky Way
satellite galaxies, including the
Dwarf galaxies and the
sharp image also includes two foreground globular
star clusters NGC 362 (bottom right) and 47 Tucanae.
Spectacular 47 Tucanae
is a mere 13,000 light-years away and seen here to the left of the
Small Magellanic Cloud.
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