Looking like a spiders web swirled into a spiral, the galaxy IC 342 presents its delicate pattern of dust in this image from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. Seen in infrared light, the faint starlight gives way to the glowing bright patterns of dust found throughout the galaxys disk.
At a distance of about 10 million light-years, IC 342 is relatively close by galaxy standards, however our vantage point places it directly behind the disk of our own Milky Way. The intervening dust makes it difficult to see in visible light, but infrared light penetrates this veil easily. It belongs to the same group as its even more obscured galaxy neighbor, Maffei 2.
IC 342 – click for 960×806 image
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