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Old 06-09-2020, 09:48 AM
TexMike55 (Michael)
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TexMike55 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Austin
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Large Magellanic Cloud best viewing season and location

Greetings Australian Astronomy buffs. I'm keen to view the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the southern hemisphere from Australia. I've conducted some research online but wonder which time of year these objects are best observed. Also inquiring about good locations in Australia from which to view the LMC and SMCs. Thank you.
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Old 06-09-2020, 10:50 AM
ngcles's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
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Cloudy but fine

Hi Mike,

Welcome to IIS.

The short answer is: From about this time of year (September) until around March. The further south you are observing from, the higher in the sky they will be but nearly all of Australia away from city lights save the far northern parts will provide an excellent view on moonless nights. As they are always in the southern part of our sky, avoid locations where there is substantial light pollution from a source directly south of your observing location.

You can see more in the LMC with a humble 10x50 binocular, than a 50cm telescope will show in the Andromeda Galaxy (NGC 224 or M31) from northern climes. If you have access to a large telescope here, you could spend 10-20 hours behind the eyepiece just to cover the highlights from both clouds. Triple that if you want to go "serious". You can spend a few hours alone on just the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070) and its surroundings. Have you considered the Three Rivers Foundation and their regular guided trips to Australia?



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Old 10-09-2020, 10:08 AM
Plutonium hexafluoride

mellotron is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sydney
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If you're in a sufficiently dark area you'll see them whether you like it or not!

My first experience after moving to Australia was wandering around some open country not far from a mid-sized town - after 10 minutes my eyes adjusted and I thought I was seeing two clouds in an otherwise clear sky. After a few minutes more I was amazed by two naked eye galaxies sitting there. I didn't have a telescope or binoculars then but the memory has always stuck with me.
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