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Hubble's Hidden Galaxy
IC 342, Caldwell 5, Hidden galaxy
RA 3h 46m 48.55s Dec 68° 5' 46.21"
11 million light years
21.4 × 20.9 arcmin
0.33 x 0.33 arcminutes
North is 10.2° left of vertical
ESA/Hubble & NASA
July 3, 2017
2011 image: G1109
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
Located very close (in astronomical terms!) to the Milky Way, this sweeping spiral galaxy would be among the brightest in the sky were it not for its dust-obscured location. The galaxy is very active, as indicated by the range of colors visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, depicting the very central region of the galaxy. A beautiful mixture of hot, blue star-forming regions, redder, cooler regions of gas, and dark lanes of opaque dust can be seen, all swirling together around a bright core. In 2003, astronomers confirmed this core to be a specific type of central region known as an HII nucleus - a name that indicates the presence of ionized hydrogen - that is likely to be creating many hot new stars.
342 (also known as Caldwell 5) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the
constellation Camelopardalis, located relatively close to the Milky Way.
Despite its size and actual brightness, its location in dusty areas near
the galactic equator makes it difficult to observe, leading to the nickname
"The Hidden Galaxy", though it can readily be detected even
with binoculars. The dust makes it difficult to determine its precise
distance; modern estimates range from about 7 Mly to about 11 Mly.