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IC 4574

A spiral galaxy lying within a scattered field of faint and distant galaxies that fall within the arc of stars forming Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, in the sky. Sources differ on its exact structure - some classify it as a barred spiral - but it has two distinct arms spiralling out from its central regions. Though the main structure of IC 4574 has the symmetrical form typical of spiral galaxies, its southern arm stretches off into space, creating a stream of material some thirty thousand light years long reaching out from the rim of the galaxy's spiral shape.

This is an extremely faint galaxy (its apparent magnitude is some +14.8), lying at distance estimated at about 440 million light years from the Milky Way (though with a degree of uncertainty - some sources suggest that it may be as 'close' as 395 million light years). Its long axis measures some 0.3 arcminutes against the sky, which suggests that the galaxy is comparatively small by galactic standards: the disc of the main spiral (discounting the extended southern arm) is some 38,000 light years across, or a little over a third of the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy.