The Large Magellanic Cloud

A Galaxy in Orbit


The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, and is the fourth largest galaxy in the local group, just after the Triangulum galaxy. Lying at a distance of 163,000 light years away, it is home to some 30 billion stars. Although it appears irregular, it is classified at a disrupted spiral galaxy. Due to the tidal forces from the Milky Way's gravity, the LMC's shape was strongly distorted. However, on closer inspection, we can still see a yellowish core of older stars surrounded by the disrupted spiral arms of younger blue stars surrounding it. The LMC is also the home of the Tarantula Nebula, which is the most active region of star formation known in the local group of galaxies. 


The LMC is visible to the naked eye from dark sky sites in southern latitudes, appearing like a cloud that hangs motionless amongst the stars. This image was photographed using a very simple setup of only a DSLR, kit lens, and camera tracker.

Imaging Details

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand

Date(s): December 2016

Lens: Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105mm f/4
Camera: Canon EOS 6D (Unmodified)
Mount: Vixen Polarie
Exposure: 60 x 1 minute, darks and flats applied

Image reduction, integration and processing with Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight.