Magellanic Clouds over Chile

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2023 February 11
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.

Magellanic Clouds over Chile
Image Credit & Copyright: Felipe Mac Auliffe López

Explanation: The two prominent clouds in this Chilean Atacama Desert skyscape captured on January 21 actually lie beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Known as the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds they are so named for the 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, leader of the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. Famous jewels of southern hemisphere skies, they are the brightest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. The larger cloud is some 160,000 light-years, and the smaller 210,000 light-years distant. While both are irregular dwarf galaxies in their own right, they exhibit central barred structures in the deep wide-angle view. Wide and deep exposures also reveal faint dusty galactic cirrus nebulae and the imprints of gravitational tidal interactions between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Tomorrow's picture: another cloudy day < | Archive | Submissions | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

The Hydra Cluster of Galaxies
Nacreous Clouds over Lapland