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C7

NGC 2403

One of a pair of spiral galaxies in the Caldwell catalogue that fall within the large but sparse northern constellation of Camelopardalis (the other being C5, the Hidden Galaxy, far to the west). This is an area of the sky lacking bright stars, westward of the Plough and Ursa Major.

C7 is seen from Earth at an oblique angle, making its multiple spiral arms clearly visible. This is a comparatively small spiral galaxy (with a diameter of some 50,000 light years, it is only about half the size of the Milky Way). C7's arms are dotted with H II regions where star formation is taking place. One of these star-forming regions is truly immense: desginated NGC 2404, it connects to C7's northernmost spiral arm, and measures some 2,000 light years from side to side. C7 is also notable as being the first galaxy outside the Milky Way in which Cepheid variables were positively identified.

On a galactic scale, C7 lies relatively close to the Milky Way, at a distance of just over 10 million light years. It represents an outlying member of the M81 Group, a group of galaxies centred around Bode's Galaxy, M81, which lies within Ursa Major to the east.

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