IC 342 (The Hidden Galaxy)

IC 342
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

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RA (J2000): 03h 46m 48s
Dec (J2000): +68 degrees 05' 44"
Position Angle: 0 degrees

Located in the constellation Camelopardalis, IC 342 is a nearly face-on spiral galaxy located close to the plane of the Milky Way, causing light from this target to be severely attenuated by intervening dust.  The name "Hidden Galaxy" attests to the faint appearence of this galaxy, especially for visual astronomers, although this target is similar in angular diameter to other more familiar galaxies such as M81 and M101.  Blue light from IC342 is attenuated by passage through the Milky Way's dust, resulting in an overall reddening of its appearance as seen in the image above.  The spiral arms of IC342 contain many HII regions, indicative of recent star burst activity.  More detail about this interesting galaxy may be found on Rob Gendler's website.

Photographic Details:
Dates:  November 10 thru 16, 2023.
Scope:  Takahashi FSQ106 at f5 on the Takahashi NJP Mount.
Autoguider:  ASI178 autoguider with SvBony 30mm guidescope, focal length 120mm.
Camera:  ZWO ASI294MM at -10C, with 7 position ZWO filter wheel.  Pixel size is 2.3 microns (Bin 1x1), yielding an image scale with the FSQ (530mm focal length) of 0.90 "/pixel (well matched for my seeing of  3 arcseconds).  Camera gain set to 50 (e-gain 2.13 electrons/ADU), offset 25. Read noise at this gain level was 2.18 electrons rms.
Baader LRGB filters; 2 inch.
Image acquisition software:  MaximDL for camera control and autoguiding; CCD Commander for automation.
Exposures:  Total exposure 14 hours (LUM 7 hours, 60 second subs; Red 2 hours, 120 second subs; Green 2 hours, 120 second subs; Blue 3 hours, 120 second subs ).
Processing:  Calibration, integration, Spectrophotometric Color Calibration (SPCC), deconvolution (BlurXTerminator), noise reduction (NoiseXTerminator) in Pixinsight; subsequent processing in Photoshop.

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