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 of Magellanic cloud

First recorded in 1675–85 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for magellanic clouds

Magellanic Cloud

/ (ˌmæɡɪˈlænɪk) /


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 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for magellanic clouds

Magellanic Clouds

[ măj′ə-lănĭk ]

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 Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.