magellanic clouds

Magellanic cloud

noun Astronomy.
either of two irregular galactic clusters in the southern heavens that are the nearest independent star system to the Milky Way.

Origin:
1675–85

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Collins
World English Dictionary
Magellanic Cloud (ˌmæɡɪˈlænɪk)
 
n
either of two small irregular galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (Nubecula Major) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (Nubecula Minor), lying near the S celestial pole; they are probably satellites of the Galaxy. Distances: 163 000 light years (Large), 196 000 light years (Small)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Magellanic clouds
1680s, from Mod.L. Magellanicus, from Latinized name of Port. navigator Fernão de Magalhães (c.1470-1521), the first European to round the tip of S. America.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Magellanic Clouds   (māj'ə-lān'ĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
Two small, irregular dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way. They are among the galaxies closest to the Milky Way and are faintly visible near the south celestial pole. See also irregular galaxy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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