Waid Observatory

Object: NGC 281 (The Pac-Man Nebula)
Date: Oct. 14-15-16, 2023   -   Location: Dark Sky Observatory, Fort Davis, TX
Telescope: 16 in. RC  -  Camera: FLI 16803  -  Mount: Paramount ME-II
Exposure: SII, Ha, OIII = 15x20 min. each  Red, Green, Blue = 15x5 min. each  (All Binned 1x1)

Click on the image to view at higher resolution.


NGC - 281


NGC 281 (The Pac-Man Nebula) 1

NGC 281 is commonly known as the Pac-Man Nebula[2] for its resemblance to the video game icon.  It is a H II region located in the constellation of Cassiopeia at a distance of approximately 9,600 light years[1].  The visible structure of the nebula spans a distance of approximately 60 light years[3].  A young open star cluster, IC 1590, is located in the center of NGC 281. The brightest member star, HD 5005, is the primary ionization energy source for the surrounding H II region[3].  As in the Eagle Nebula, the Pac-Man contains several pillars and dark Boc Globules.  These areas are active stellar nurseries where new stars are being created[3].  An impressive dust band that forms the mouth of the Pac-Man transverses the lower portion of the nebula.  Dr. Robert Gendler published a very informative article describing, in some detail, the Pac-Man Nebula[3].

The image above is known as a mapped, or false, color image and was acquired using narrowband filters.  It was assembled using the standard Hubble palette with SII mapped to Red, Ha mapped to Green and OIII mapped to Blue.  The stars were overlaid with color data from a separate RGB image.

A near true color HaRGB filtered version the NGC 281 may be viewed here.

1Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_281
2Lowell Observatory: https://lowell.edu/deep-space-spotlight-ngc-281-the-pacman-nebula/
3Dr. Robert Gendler: http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/NGC281text.html

Copyright Donald P. Waid