IC 342, Hidden Galaxy

Object Description

The galaxy IC 342 was discovered on August 11, 1890 by the American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard and noted in the logbook of the Lick Observatory. Unfortunately, he failed to publish his discovery, which is why John L. E. Dreyer named William Denning as the discoverer in his «Index Catalog of Nebulae» published in 1895. [196, 314]

IC 342
IC 342: Galaxy in Camelopardalis; Takahashi Mewlon 250 CR, Reducer CR 0.73 (f=1800mm / f7.25), SBIG ST-8300; 11L x 600sec 1×1, 9R, 7G, 7B 2×2 x 600sec, 14HA 2×2 x 1200sec ; Bernese Highlands; © 2020 Bernhard Blank, Dragan Mihajlovic
IC 342
IC 342: Galaxy in Camelopardalis. North is right; Astrooptik Keller Cassegrain 400mm f/9, SBIG STL-11000M; L 120 min, R 50 min, G 20 min, B 10 min; Oberes Schlierental 1450m ü. M.; © 23. 12. 2008 Niklaus J. Imfeld, Eduard von Bergen

IC 342 is a starburst galaxy of the morphological type SA(s)cd and is located at a distance of about 9 to 11 million light years. [145] It would actually be one of the brightest spiral galaxies in the sky, but due to its position close to the galactic equator, the light appears strongly weakened and reddened by the thick layer of interstellar gas and dust in our Milky Way. This has earned the galaxy the nickname «Hidden Galaxy». [427]

«Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC)», Paturel et al. 1989 [144]
DesignationsPGC 13826: IC 342, UGC 2847, MCG 11-5-3, CGCG 305-2, IRAS 3419+6756
Right Ascension (J2000.0)03h 46m 49.7s
Declination (J2000.0)+68° 05' 45"
Morphological TypeSB
Dimensions20.9' x 20.4'
Visual Magnitude9.1 mag
Radial Velocity (HRV)31 km/s
Position Angle°

Finder Chart

The galaxy IC 342 is hidden in the rather inconspicuous constellation Camelopardalis (Giraffe). The best time to observe is September to March, when the circumpolar constellation is highest in the sky.

Chart IC 342
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


144Catalogue of Principal Galaxies (PGC); Paturel G., Fouque P., Bottinelli L., Gouguenheim L.; Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 80, 299 (1989); cdsarc.unistra.fr/viz-bin/cat/VII/119 (2021-02-18)
145SIMBAD astronomical database; simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum; skysafariastronomy.com
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey; archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_form
196Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; cseligman.com/text/atlas.htm (2020-12-28)
314«Index Catalogue of Nebulæ found in the years 1888 to 1894, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue» Dreyer, J. L. E.; Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 51, p.185; 1895; Bibcode:1895MmRAS..51..185D
427Hubble’s Hidden Galaxy; esahubble.org/images/potw1727a (2021-08-29)