Astronomy Picture of the Day

Hidden Galaxy IC 342 from Kitt Peak

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Hidden Galaxy IC 342 from Kitt Peak


Beautiful nearby spiral galaxy IC 342 could be more famous
if it wasn't so hidden.

A sprawling island universe, IC 342
would be a prominent galaxy in our night sky,
but it is almost hidden from view behind the veil of stars,
gas and dust clouds
in the plane of our Milky Way galaxy.

in size to other large, bright spiral galaxies
IC 342
is a mere 7 million
light-years distant in the long-necked, northern constellation of the Giraffe

Even though IC 342's light is dimmed by
intervening cosmic
, this remarkably
telescopic image
traces the galaxy's own
obscuring dust,
blue star clusters, and glowing pink
star forming regions along spiral arms that
wind far from the galaxy's core.

IC 342
may have undergone a recent
burst of
star formation activity and is
close enough to have gravitationally
influenced the evolution of the
of galaxies and the Milky Way.

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