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: Ha = 15x20 min. 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].

A full narrowband (SII/Ha/OIII) Hubble Palette 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