The Magellanic clouds do not seem to move much relative to the other background stars, which of course move a good deal. Is there some explanation for this or am I observing poorly?

  • $\begingroup$ The Magellanic clouds do not move relative to the stars. If you're seeing relative motion, then you aren't looking at a celestial body, you're probably just seeing normal clouds. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Aug 11, 2018 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Are you confusing stars for planets? The apparent motion of stars would be very difficult for an amateur to measure, and impossible to observe directly. The Magellanic Clouds are satellite galaxies, and are therefore much further away than stars in our galaxy. Their apparent motions will be miniscule. $\endgroup$
    – Mick
    Aug 11, 2018 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


The Magellanic clouds are nearby galaxies made up of millions of stars. They are much further away than the visible stars.

The stars, galaxies and other deep space objects do not move relative to each other (at least not enough to be seen by a casual observer)

The stars and Magellanic clouds will appear to move during the night, due to the rotation of the Earth. They do not move otherwise (at least not noticeably to a casual observer)

The planets will move slowly, but this will only be noticed if you observe them over several weeks, and of course, nearby objects (the moon, man-made satellites, meteors) will move more quickly relative to the stars.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for all the responses. My confusion is that what I am observing as the Magellanic clouds are moving notably to the stars. What I am seeing is something that stays in a relatively fixed position whereas the stars move during the course of the night. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2018 at 11:22

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