UGCA 86 is an irregular dwarf galaxy in the 1C 342 / Maffei I group, just next to the Local Group. It was first mentioned by Zwicky (1968) as VII Zw 009, but not contained in his “Catalogue of Selected Compact Galaxies and of Post-eruptive Galaxies” (1971). It was independently rediscovered by Nilson (1974) and Rots (1979) as UGCA 86 and A 0355 resp. Rots found it by HI observations, and from peculiarities in the HI morphology and kinematics he suspected that it was interacting with 1C 342. Thus, the tentatively interesting items: a starforming, low surface brightness dwarf galaxy in an interacting system (one of the nearest), triggered us to engage in more detailed studies.
In a first step, we made detailed surface photometry in U, B and V (Richter et al. 1991). UGCA 86 proved to be one galaxy (which was not trivial; Saha & Hoessel 1991 discussed if it could be a chance superposition or a collision of two independent galaxies, due to the very different appearence of the southern and the central starburst; Miller & Hodge 1992 and the distance measurements of Karachentsev & Tikhonov 1993 support our result) with the typical exponential brightness profile of a spheroidal dwarf galaxy, and contains at least two starburst regions of very different color: a central red one and a blue one in the southern outskirts. There is an infrared source in the IRAS Point Source Catalogue coincident with UGCA 86. The amount of dust indicated by this source is in very good quantitative agreement with what would be required to redden the central starburst by the observed color difference compared to the southern burst. Nevertheless, the straightforward hypothesis, that the color of the central burst is due to dust extinction, is contradicted by the improved, higher resolution data.