- The Greater and Lesser Magellanic Clouds are the nearest members of the Local Group of galaxies to our own, and are seen in the southern constellations of Dorado and Mensa and Tucana respectively. The gravitation of the Magellanic clouds is thought to distort the geometry of our own galaxy. Both galaxies were found in the 1980s to be vigorous seats of star formation, according to observations by the IRAS satellite which revealed the presence of dust, heated in some areas by radiation from young, very hot stars. In 1987 a supernova visible to the naked eye was observed in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud.
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