OIR Research: The Magellanic Clouds

The Magellanic Clouds are two of the Milky Way's closest neighboring galaxies. Visible only in the southern hemisphere, these small, "irregular" galaxies are named for the explorer Magellan, who brought them to the attention of Europeans in 1519. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) has a distinct stellar bar; it contains many interesting objects, including giant HII regions, planetary nebulae, and of course stars, that can be viewed in exquisite detail because this galaxy is so nearby. A detailed study of the LMC is now being carried out by CfA astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the SAGE project. In addition, CfA astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the orbits of both the LMC and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), throwing new light on their relationship to the Milky Way.


Scientific Publications

  • The Proper Motion of the Large Magellanic Cloud using HST .pdf

  • Is the SMC Bound to the LMC? The Hubble Space Telescope Proper Motion of the SMC .pdf

  • Spitzer Survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud: Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy's Evolution (SAGE). I. Overview and Initial Results .pdf


    SAGE (Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy's Evolution) Homepage


    Joseph Hora, Nitya Kallivayalil

  •   Press release ...

    The outer "halo" region surrounding the Milky Way. The Large Magellanic Cloud imaged at visible wavelengths (Image copyright Robert Gendler and Josch Hambsch).


    Section Photo