Approximately 160,000 light years distant, the LMC is the 3rd closest galaxy. It has a diameter of 14,000 light years.
The LMC and its neighbour the Small Magallenic Cloud were certainly known to ancient southern explorers, however it was Ferdinand Magellan whose sighting of the LMC on his voyage in 1519 brought the it into common Western knowledge. The galaxy now bears his name.
The galaxy is clearly visible in southern skies with the naked eye as a faint cloud and includes many interesting and exotic objects … The principal one being the Tarantula Nebula (Refer to earlier Post – Young, hot and very dangerous) and can be seen here as the small bright area at the bottom of the Image.
Robert Burnham described the LMC as an “astronomical treasure-house, a great celestial laboratory for the study of the growth and evolution of the stars,” as was the case with Supernova 1987a – the nearest supernova in recent years which was located in this galaxy.
It was likely this galaxy Carl Sagan had in mind when he wrote “Glorious Dawn” …. of viewing the rising Milky Way from a planet in a distant star cluster, where our galaxy unobscured by interstellar gas and dust would fill the sky to a width of 70 moons, and illuminate the night with the light of 400 billion suns.
Imaged 18 November 2012 at 9.30pm Canon 7D Piggy-backed on Celestron 9.25 Canon 24-105L @ f/4 ISO 1600 25secs 29 subs & 29 darks