The Large Magellanic Cloud | Aleessandro Cipolat

The Large Magellanic Cloud | Aleessandro Cipolat
The Large Magellanic Cloud | Aleessandro Cipolat

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. At a distance of around 50 kiloparsecs (≈160,000 light-years), the LMC is the second or third closest galaxy to the Milky Way, after the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal (~16 kpc) and the possible dwarf irregular galaxy known as the Canis Major Overdensity.

Based on readily visible stars and a mass of approximately 10 billion solar masses, the diameter of the LMC is about 14,000 light-years (4.3 kpc). It is roughly a hundredth as massive as the Milky Way and is the fourth largest galaxy in the Local Group, after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33).

The LMC is classified as a Magellanic spiral. It contains a stellar bar that is geometrically off center, suggesting that it was a barred dwarf spiral galaxy before its spiral arms were disrupted, likely by tidal interactions from the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and the Milky Way’s gravity.

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