Photograph of one of the Magellanic Clouds, 1972.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This ultraviolet picture was taken by the astronauts on Apollo 16, the fifth succesful lunar landing mision. The two Magellanic Clouds are dwarf galaxies orbiting our own Milky Way galaxy at a distance of 179,000 and 210,000 light years respectively. They are clearly visible in the night sky from locations in the Southern Hemisphere on Earth, and are named after the explorer Fernando de Magellan, who observed them in 1519. Apollo 16, with astronauts John Young, Thomas Mattingly and Charles Duke aboard, was launched on 16th April 1972 and Young and Duke became the ninth and tenth men to walk on the Moon.