IC 342 (also known as Caldwell 5) is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. The galaxy, located about 7 million light years away is near the galactic equator where dust obscuration makes it a difficult object for both amateur and professional astronomers to observe.
IC 342 is one of the brightest two galaxies in the IC 342/Maffei Group of galaxies, one of the galaxy groups that is closest to the Local Group. The galaxy was discovered by William Frederick Denning in 1895. Edwin Hubble first thought it to be in the Local Group, but later it was demonstrated that the galaxy is outside the Local Group.
In 1935, Harlow Shapely declared that this galaxy was the third largest galaxy by angular size then known, smaller only than the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), being wider that the full moon. This does not take into account the visual size of the LMC or SMC.
It has a H II nucleus.