What is the farthest Northern Latitude in which the Magellanic Clouds can be seen? (Advanced)

What is the farthest Northern Latitude in which the Magellanic Clouds can be seen? Can they be seen in Hawaii? Can they be seen in Hana, Maui?

The Magellanic Clouds are at a declination of about -70 degrees, so that the farthest northern latitude from which they can be seen is about 20 degrees. But there is a caveat here. As you know, all objects in the sky go in circles around the celestial pole (due to Earth's rotation), and hence from a latitude of 20 degrees north, an object at a declination of -70 degrees will just touch the horizon for a few minutes before setting. Thus, if one really wants to have a decent look at the Magellanic Clouds, one needs to go to the equator at least, and even there, it will be visible only for a few hours and only at a particular time of the year.

Maui, Hawaii is at a latitude of about 20 to 21 degrees north, so that for practical purposes, it will not be possible for one to see the Magellanic Clouds.

This page was last updated June 28, 2015.

About the Author

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep built a new receiver for the Arecibo radio telescope that works between 6 and 8 GHz. He studies 6.7 GHz methanol masers in our Galaxy. These masers occur at sites where massive stars are being born. He got his Ph.D from Cornell in January 2007 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Insitute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. After that, he worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as the Submillimeter Postdoctoral Fellow. Jagadheep is currently at the Indian Institute of Space Scence and Technology.

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