NGC 281 The Pac Man Nebula - 12/19/2005

Image Capture Details

Optics:  Televue TV 60 IS
Mount: Meade
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel
Filters: None
Exposure:  80 X 120 Seconds = 160 Minutes
Time: 9:10pm - 11:50pm EST
Location: Waldwick, NJ
1  NGC 281 is a busy workshop of star formation. Prominent features include a small open cluster of stars, a diffuse red-glowing emission nebula,
large lanes of obscuring gas and dust, and dense knots of dust and gas in which stars may still be forming. The open cluster of stars IC 1590 visible
around the center has formed only in the last few million years. The brightest member of this cluster is actually a multiple-star system shining light
that helps ionize the nebula's gas, causing the red glow visible throughout. The lanes of dust visible left of center are likely homes of future star
formation. Particularly striking in the above photograph are the dark Bok globules visible against the bright nebula. The NGC 281 system, dubbed
the Pacman nebula for its overall shape, lies about 10 thousand light years distant.

1  http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050823.htm
© 2007 David A. Trapani
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