Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

December 19, 2019


Photographer: Paolo Bardelli 
Summary Author: Paolo Bardelli 

During the ascent on the road from San Pedro de Atacama, in the Chilean desert, to observe the Tatio geysers, our guide decided to make an unexpected stop. The sky was crystal clear sky and teeming with stars. On the image above, looming before us amidst the greenish-orange colors of airglow, are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, 158,000 light-years and 199,000 light-years distant, respectively. These are 2 irregular satellite galaxies of our Milky Way, were noted in the sixteenth century by the navigator and explorer Ferdinand Magellan, though they were mentioned in writing by others before his observations.

Connected to each other and to the Milky Way by a bridge of hydrogen gas, they’re destined to collide with the Milky Way in some 2 billion years. Image taken on July 5, 2019, at 5:00 a.m.

Photo Details: Camera: Canon EOS 6D; Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Windows); Exposure Time: 30.0s; ISO equivalent: 3200; Aperture: ƒ/2.8; Lens: Samyang 14 mm.