NGC 281 is a star forming region in Cassiopeia. Because its appearance is reminiscent of the video game icon from the 1980s, the nebula has earned the nickname of the Pacman Nebula. This red-glowing emission nebula is being ionized by the bright open cluster of stars near the center of the nebula. This cluster of stars, known as IC 1590, is only a few million years old. The nebula has prominent dust lanes and dense knots of gas. This complex region of dust, gas, and new stars, is about 10,000 light-years away. The dark Bok globule just above IC 1590 in this image harbors one or more protostars in the process of star formation. In fact, a Bok globule is like a cocoon for stars.
This RGB CCD image was taken with a Takahashi Epsilon 250 telescope at f3.4 using an SBIG ST-8XE CCD. The image was taken from my backyard.
RA: 00h 52m 59s Dec: +56d 37' 19" (J2000)
July 6-10, 2005
Image by Sid Leach
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