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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Magellanic Clouds"

Magellanic Clouds [Astro*Index]

Named after Magellan, the Portuguese navigator. Two "clouds" of stars, about 7o and 4o in diameter. Called the Greater and Lesser Magellanic Clouds (Nubecula Major and Nubecula Minor) these two dwarf irregular galaxies are the nearest neighbors to our own galaxy. They are satellites of our own Milky Way, lying at distances of 86,000 and 95,000 light-years, respectively. Located within 20o of the south celestial pole, they are visible to the naked-eye in the Southern Hemisphere as fuzzy patches. Leavitt and Shapley derived a cosmic yard-stick based on the period-luminosity curve for Cepheids found in these regions.

See also:
♦ Leavitt, Henrietta Swan ♦ Shapley, Harlow ♦ Period-Luminosity Relation ♦ Magellan, Ferdinand ♦ Cepheid Variable ♦ Milky Way ♦ Light-year ♦ Celestial Pole


Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine