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View Full Version : LMC/SMC - what do they look like to the naked eye?



Dgennero
2004-Jun-13, 09:25 PM
I'm just a trifle too far north to observe our neighbor galaxies, but I'd like to know what they look like. Some say they look like detached parts of the Milky Way, others that they are prominent enough to be visible even with a full moon in the sky.
So, my questions:

- can you clearly see the outline and maybe some structure?

- do they have a surface brightness comparable to the most dense parts of the Milky way or are they brighter?

- can you distinguish colors with the naked eye?

badprof
2004-Jun-13, 09:39 PM
Hi Dgennero,

Both Magellanic Clouds are visible in moderate light pollution and I have seen the LMC even under a full Moon, although not always. The small colud does look like a detached portion of the Milky Way as does the large, however the large does have some structure to it in that it is elongated. I have never seen any colour with the naked eye.

They are not as bright as the densists parts of the Milky Way in Sagittarius, but brighter than the Milky Way in Cygnus.

Cheers

cyswxman
2004-Jun-13, 10:06 PM
Where in the sky are they located?

jt-3d
2004-Jun-13, 10:54 PM
This APOD (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980203.html) looks like a no magnification shot, not that I've ever seen it.

Bob B.
2004-Jun-13, 11:25 PM
Where in the sky are they located?
Both are in the southern sky. The SMC is located in the constellation Tucana at approximately RA 0h 53m, Dec. -72.5 degrees. The LMC is located on the border of the constellations Dorado and Mensa at approximately RA 5h 24m, Dec. -70 degrees. I saw them both once from Bolivia in 1994, but I don't remember their appearance vividly enough to describe them.

ngc3314
2004-Jun-15, 03:14 AM
This APOD (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980203.html) looks like a no magnification shot, not that I've ever seen it.

Yeah, that was with a 50mm lens on 35mm film and sort of captures the extent seen with the eye (although it shows a blue color for each which was way beyond my eye's capacity). I've seen a bit of structure in the LMC beyond just the bar - sort of a curdled texture. A few people (Brian Skiff?) have traced extremely faint outer features naked-eye from the darkest sites.

badchap
2004-Jun-16, 01:51 AM
They do look like clouds, or broken off parts of the milky way. I think so,anyway.
From my moderately light polluted back yard, I can see the Large Magellenic Cloud on a clear night..I fancy I can see it as being a bit elongated. I can make out the Small Cloud as well, but more like a small patch.
It's been a while since I was able to have a view of them from a dark site.
They're not in the best viewing position at present. A bit low in the sky for me. Another 3 months or so ,I think, will see them up high again. :)

badprof
2004-Jun-18, 06:40 PM
Hi Dgennero,

I have a number of photographs of both clouds on my webpage. You can find them at;

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mclark/Lmcsmc.htm

Hopefully they will give you some idea of their appearence.

Cheers,

Normandy6644
2004-Jun-18, 07:55 PM
Hi Dgennero,

I have a number of photographs of both clouds on my webpage. You can find them at;

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mclark/Lmcsmc.htm

Hopefully they will give you some idea of their appearence.

Cheers,

Wow, those are some NICE pictures. Thanks for the link.