The Large Magellanic Cloud

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Large Magellanic Cloud [LMC] is the third nearest galaxy to the Milky Way at a distance of 163,000 light-years. It has a diameter of about 14,000 light years and a mass of approximately 10 billion Suns, making it roughly 1/100 as massive as the Milky Way.

The LMC is the fourth largest galaxy in the Local Group, after Andromeda, Milky Way and Triangulum Galaxy. We can see it, even with our naked eyes as a faint cloud in the night sky of the southern hemisphere .

Researchers believe that LMC may have previously been a standard barred spiral galaxy before being interrupted, likely by the Milky Way gravitational tug resulting in the interruption of its spiral arms. The present irregular appearance of LMC is likely the result of tidal interactions with both the Milky Way and the Small Magellanic Cloud [SMC]. There is also a bridge of gas connecting the SMC with the LMC, which is evidence of tidal interaction between the galaxies. The Magellanic Clouds have a common envelope of neutral hydrogen indicating they have been gravitationally bound for a long time.

Like many irregular galaxies, the LMC is rich in gas and dust, and it is currently undergoing vigorous star formation activity. It is home to the Tarantula Nebula, the most active star forming region in the Local Group.

The LMC is full of a wide range of galactic objects and phenomena that makes it an "astronomical treasure house" which contains 60 globular clusters, 400 planetary nebulae, and 700 open clusters, along with hundreds of thousands of giant and super-giant stars.


photo credit:- +Dylan O'Donnell
source:- Wikipedia
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