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Contains:  NGC 2077, Tarantula nebula, NGC 2070, NGC 2048, NGC 2018, NGC 1966, NGC 1763, The star νDor, The star η1Dor, The star εDor, The star θDor, The star βMen, The star μMen
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The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), 


            Gabriel R. Santos...
The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)

Technical card

Resolution: 4000x2667

Dates:Aug. 12, 2018

Frames: 25x120" ISO800

Integration: 0.8 hours

Darks: ~18

Flats: ~10

Bias: ~40

Avg. Moon age: 1.27 days

Avg. Moon phase: 1.80%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 3.00

Mean SQM: 21.70

Mean FWHM: 2.80

Temperature: -0.50 job: 2208718

RA center: 79.986 degrees

DEC center: -69.299 degrees

Pixel scale: 8.903 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 357.986 degrees

Field radius: 5.945 degrees

Data source: Traveller


The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. In his circumnavigation in the 16th century, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew had plenty of time to study the southern skies. As a result, two fuzzy cloud-like objects easily visible to southern hemisphere skygazers are known as the Clouds of Magellan – that’s how the galaxies entered western knowledge. Some records of the galaxy date back to Persian Al Sufi (~950 AD), but our prehistorical ancestors probably knew those galaxies, due to their naked-eye visibility. [1]

About 160,000 light-years distant in the constellation Dorado, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), spans about 15000 light-years, being the most massive of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies. The prominent patch red nebula near the center is known as the magnificent Tarantula Nebula, is a giant star-forming region about 1000 light-years across. Were this immense nebula as close as M42, it would be about 40 degrees in angular size! [1]

This image features this huge galaxy in its glory – the field of view is huge, almost 10º or 20 full moons across. For the astrophotographers of the Northern Hemisphere, this targets (LMC/SMC) are a must-see – well worth a trip south the Equator. They’re immediately obvious from dark skies, and look a lot like clouds indeed. The view is also beautiful in binoculars or telesocopes. I find it amusing and enchanting - almost life changing - that we can see, with our very eyes, the light from such large and distant galaxies - many light years away, many light years across, with myriads of distant stars each... it really puts things in perspective!

Capturing this image was a challenge – not because of framing, but because of environmental conditions. In that morning at Mantiqueira Mountains (where this image was captured), at some 1200m above sea level, the temperature was literally freezing. Exposures started at 0.0ºC ambient, and the temperature reached below-freezing -1.8ºC. Being used to the tropical brazilian weather, going sub-zero wasn't easy. Besides, it was Father's Day, and I was very happy my own father was sharing the views, the sky and the cold with me while the photons hit my sensor. The result was well worth the cold and numb fingers - the image surprised me, and I consider it one of my best images to date.

Constructive criticism, comments and suggestions are more than welcome in the comments section – including on the new labelling. Thank you for taking your time to look at this image.

Date and Time: August 12, 2018
Location: MG, Brazil. Rural Skies (Bortle 3-4, SQM ~21.7*calculated)
Camera: Canon EOS T5 (modded), at ISO 800
Lens: Samyang 135mm f/2.0, operated at f/2.4
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5, tracking, guided
Guiding: Starguider 50mm Guidescope + ASI120mm + PHD2;
Exposure Detail: 25x120s or 50 minutes

[1] Referneces: NASA APOD; Wikipedia;;;



Gabriel R. Santos...
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), 


            Gabriel R. Santos...