At a distance of about 200,000 light years, it is one of the Milky Way's nearest neighbours. It is also one of the most distant objects that can be seen with the naked eye.
With a mean declination of approximately -72 degrees, it is best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. It can be located in the constellation of Tucana and appears as a hazy, light patch in the night sky about 3 degrees across. It looks like a detached piece of the Milky Way.
Since it has a very low surface brightness, it is best viewed from a dark site away from city lights.
The Magellanic clouds are best visible in the southern hemisphere, although they are visible 5 degrees from the horizon in Hawaii