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Harel Boren | all galleries >> Galleries >> International Acknowledgements - APODs and Publications > NGC 281 Sh2-184 The Pacman Nebula with Open Cluster IC 1590
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July 23, 2009 Harel Boren

NGC 281 Sh2-184 The Pacman Nebula with Open Cluster IC 1590

Km. 101, East Negev Desert

Canon XSi, modded, Total RGB 52 min. = 17x3 min, ISO 1600
Baader MPCC, LXD75-SN10 OTA, EQ6 mount, guided w/PHD and EQMOD

NGC 281, sometimes referred to casually as the "Pacman Nebula", is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia, located at a distance of 9,500 light years (2.9 kiloparsecs, Hubblesite),and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm on our Milky Way galaxy.

The major features of the Pacman Nebula are the bright blue stars in its center, which have formed only in the last few million years and provide the energy that helps ionize the gas of NGC 281; the dark lanes of dense dust and cool gas (mostly molecular hydrogen) seen clearly at the Pacman's "mouth", and which are likely areas of future star formation; and several visible "Bok globules", which are probably areas of current star formation. The natural color of the nebula is red.

The object size: 48 Arcmin (DSS image), 132 ly (40.5 pc, DSS image). Its surface brightness is stated as very low in all sources. One source puts it at a very low 23.6, with a visual (i.e. integrated) magnitude of 7.8. The open star cluster is uniformly cited as magnitude 7.

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