Two irregular, satellite galaxies
of our own Galaxy which are visible from
the Southern Hemisphere as misty patches in the night sky. The Large
Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud
are named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521),
who described them during his voyage round the world. Riding at close quarters
to each other, barely 100,000 light-years apart, it is possible that the
Magellanic Clouds are destined at some time to merge into a single galaxy.
Together with at least two other satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, the
Draco Dwarf and the Ursa
Minor Dwarf, they move within an enormous river of hydrogen gas known
as the Magellanic Stream.