Maffei 1 is a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. Once believed to be a member of the Local Group of galaxies, it is now known to belong to its own group, the IC 342/Maffei Group. It was named after Paolo Maffei, who discovered it and the neighboring Maffei 2 in 1967 via their infrared emissions.
Maffei 1 is a slightly flattened core type elliptical galaxy. It has a boxy shape and is made mainly of old metal-rich stars. It has a tiny blue nucleus in which stars continue to form. Like all large ellipticals it contains a significant population of globular clusters. Maffei 1 is situated at an estimated distance of 3–4 Mpc from the Milky Way. It may be the closest giant elliptical galaxy.
Maffei 1 lies in the Zone of Avoidance and is heavily obscured by the Milky Way's stars and dust. If it were not obscured, it would be one of the largest (about 3/4 the size of the full Moon) brightest and best-known galaxies in the sky. It can be observed visually, using a 30–35 cm or bigger telescope under a very dark sky.