Camelopardalis is an inconspicuous constellation that lies near the north celestial pole and is visible year-round for observers at mid-northern latitudes. The constellation contains no bright stars, but some interesting galaxies wait for observers that happen to point their instruments in this part of the sky. One of these galaxies is NGC 2403, the showpiece of Camelopardalis.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 2403
Spiral galaxy NGC 2403. Fred Calvert/Adam Block/ NOAO/AURA/NSF

It is a large, loose-structured spiral galaxy lying in the constellation’s southeast corner. You can find it by moving the telescope five degrees southeast from the 5th-magnitude stars 42 and 43 Camelopardalis in a line toward 3rd-magnitude Omicron Ursae Majoris.

NGC 2403 can be seen easily as a large hazy spot in binoculars, and a telescope will show a bright elliptical haze surrounded by a faint outer halo. A definite degree of mottling becomes apparent with larger telescopes, the effect of dust scattered throughout the spiral arms.

Finder map – field width 15 degrees, stars to magnitude 9.