The Large Magellanic Cloud, an irregular galaxy.
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© Loke Kun Tan (StarryScapes)
A Matter of Scale - interactive showing the sizes of things, from very tiny to huge - from NSF
Any galaxy which cannot be classified as either spiral or elliptical
is called an irregular galaxy. In some sense every irregular galaxy
is unique in it's appearance. It doesn't have to look like the
others. It just isn't a spiral or an elliptical.
There are two types of irregulars. Irr I galaxies are similar to
spirals because they have lots of gas and young stars, but they don't
have spiral arms. Irr II galaxies are distorted and strange looking.
Their appearance leads some astronomers to think that Irr II galaxies
may have collided with another galaxy at some time during their lives.
If you live south of the Equator, you may be able to see two irregular type
galaxies in your night sky. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are
two very nearby irregular galaxies which are orbitting the Milky Way.
Because they are nearby and fairly bright, they can be seen with the
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