IC 342. Caldwell 5

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IC 342 is a spiral galaxy located about 11.2 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Camelopardalis. It is one of the brightest and nearest galaxies of its kind and is a popular target for astronomers due to its close proximity. The galaxy is also notable for its complex structure, which includes a bright central bulge, a bar-like structure, and at least two prominent spiral arms. IC 342 has a relatively high rate of star formation, with a star formation rate estimated to be around 1.6 solar masses per year. This is believed to be due in part to the galaxy’s location near the edge of the Local Group of galaxies, which has resulted in a relatively high amount of gas and dust in the galaxy’s disk. The galaxy also contains a number of star clusters, which are home to a number of young, massive stars. IC 342 has many prominent HII regions, seen in the image as red nebulosities, that are the cradle of many newly formed stars. Some of the red emission nebulae, seem to be located outside the visible arms. Nevertheless, they are located in the fainter regions of these arms, something that can be confirmed by stretching strongly the histogram of the Luminance master. These “external” HII regions have been marked with ellipses in the annotated image below.   In addition to its star-forming regions, IC 342 also has some other interesting features. These include a strong radio source known as IC 342 X-1, marked with a square in the upper center of the annotated image below, which is thought to be a black hole with a mass 30 and 200 solar masses and also identified as an ULX (Ultra Luminous X-ray source). Recent studies of IC 342 have also shed light on its dark matter distribution. In particular, observations of the galaxy’s rotation curve have suggested that it has a significant amount of dark matter in its outer regions, which is consistent with the predictions of current models of galaxy formation and evolution.

Additional Information


Name(s): IC 342. Caldwell 5. The Hidden Galaxy

Type: Spiral galaxy

RA:  03h 46m 49s

Dec: +68º 05’ 46”

Constellation: Camelopardalis

Size (arcmin): 20×21 arcmin

Magnitude: +10.0

Distance: 11.2 Mly


Date: 2022-10-13 to 2022-10-28

Location: Curiosity2 Observatory, New Mexico Skies, Mayhill, NM, USA

Size (arcmin): 29.6×29.0 arcmin

Telescope: 24” (61 cm) f/6.5 Reflector

Camera: FLI PL16803 (4096x4096pix)

Guiding: Astrodon MonsterMOAG off-axis guider

Total exposure: 39 h 40 m (L: 15 hours; Ha: 6h 40m; RGB: 6 hours each)

Processing: CCDStack, PixInsight (one step) and Photoshop CC 2023


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