The next time you have a chance to look up at the night sky, bear in mind that nearly every thing you can see with your bare eyes is something in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Of the 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe (some estimates put that number even higher, at 500 billion) only a handful are visible in the night sky from Earth without a telescope. Two of those, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, were recently the subjects of a NASA ultraviolet survey, and the agency has just released some dazzling pictures of these neighbors, just 163,000 and 200,000 light years away, respectively. Both galaxies are visible to astronomers and star-gazers from our planet's southern hemisphere.
The top image shows the galaxies as they appear in visible light. Here's each as NASA's Swift satellite saw them in ultraviolet.