The IC 342/Maffei Group (also known as the IC 342 Group or the Maffei 1 Group) is the nearest group of galaxies to the Local Group. The group can be described as a binary group; the member galaxies are mostly concentrated around either IC 342 or Maffei 1, both of which are the brightest galaxies within the group. The group is one of many located within the Virgo Supercluster (i.e. the Local Supercluster).
The table below lists galaxies that have been identified as associated with the IC342/Maffei 1 Group by I. D. Karachentsev. Note that Karachentsev divides this group into two subgroups centered around IC 342 and Maffei 1.
Additionally, KKH 37 is listed as possibly being a members of the IC 342 Subgroup, and KKH 6 is listed as possibly being members of the Maffei 1 Subgroup.
Foreground dust obscuration
As seen from Earth, the group lies near the plane of the Milky Way (a region sometimes called the zone of avoidance). Consequently, the light from many of the galaxies is severely affected by dust obscuration within the Milky Way. This complicates observational studies of the group, as uncertainties in the dust obscuration also affect measurements of the galaxies' luminosities and distances as well as other related quantities.
Moreover, the galaxies within the group have historically been difficult to identify. Many galaxies have only been discovered using late 20th century astronomical instrumentation. For example, while many fainter, more distant galaxies, such as the galaxies in the New General Catalogue, were already identified visually by the end of the nineteenth century, Maffei 1 and Maffei 2 were only discovered in 1968 using infrared photographic images of the region. Furthermore, it is difficult to determine whether some objects near IC 342 or Maffei 1 are galaxies associated with the IC 342/Maffei Group or diffuse foreground objects within the Milky Way that merely look like galaxies. For example, the objects MB 2 and Camelopardalis C were once thought to be dwarf galaxies in the IC 342/Maffei Group but are now known to be objects within the Milky Way.
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