The Magellenic clouds are satellite galaxies bubbled off of the Milky Way like spray from a fountain. However, some astronomers consider them galaxies in their own right (the LMC has a degree of spiral structure). These bright regions of light, observed by Ferdinand Magellan in 1519 and by other early explorers like Amerigo Vespucci and Marco Polo, are also known as Cape Clouds.
47 Tucanae, often regarded as one of the most beautiful globular clusters, lies directly in front of the Small Magellenic Cloud. 15,000 LY.
Origin and History
One of the eleven southern constellations created by Pieter Dirksz Keyser and Frederick de Houtman in 1596. These were published in Plate Aaa of Johann Bayer, Uranographia (1603).
Skylore, Literature and Culture
Tucana the Toucan is one of four birds in the southern skies (cf. Pavo the Peacock, Phoenix, and Grus the Crane). It is best known for the Small Magellenic Cloud (described with the Large Magellenic Cloud on the page for Dorado the Swordfish).