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Apart from the obvious difference as suggested by their names that the Large Magellanic Cloud is 'larger' than the Small Magellanic Cloud, what are the other differences between them?

Do give all the details you can. Thank you!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The LMC has an apparent size of about 645x550 arc mins, the SMC 320x205.

Both contain several hundred million stars each. The LMC is about 14000ly in size, and is about 10 billion solar masses; the SMC is 7000ly in size, and is about 7 billion solar masses.

The visual magnitude of the LMC is +0.28, the SMC is +2.23.

Both feature a number of interesting clusters, nebulae, and supernova remnants. Notably, LMC is home to NGC 2070, the Tarantula Nebula, and Supernova 1987A. L The LMC is usually considered an irregular galaxy, though it has a prominent bar, somewhat warped, and a spiral arm. The SMC is a dwarf irregular galaxy, or maybe a barred disc.

LMC is the fourth largest galaxy in our local group, and the third closest to us. SMC is the fifth? largest galaxy in the local group, and the fourth closest to us.

A number of websites proclaim that the LMC and SMC are gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. This has been known to be incorrect since 2007 when Hubble observations showed they are travelling too fast to be orbiting the Milky Way. See also.

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I think wikipedia is enough.

They are two different satellite galaxies of our Milk Way now, ALTHOUGH maybe they were gravitationally bound before and even now there is a bridge of gas connecting them.

Ferdinand Magellan brought them into common knowledge, although he was not the first people to mention them in writings.

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Wikipedia isn't necessarily enough. The status of the LMC and SMC as satellites of the Milky Way is disputed; see @Jeremy's answer above. –  HDE 226868 Aug 5 '14 at 19:16

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