NGC 281 is a bright emission nebula that resembles Ms. Pac-Man, more so when viewed in the visible spectrum (this photo is in narrowband). It’s more formal designations in various catalogs are NGC 281, IC 11 or Sh2-184.
Objects lying on the Milky Way are often obscured by material (gas, dust, stars) lying in between them and us. One interesting fact about the Pacman nebula is that it does not lie on the Milky Way’s galactic plane, but in the Perseus spiral arm (in the constellation of Cassiopeia). As a result of this, the astronomers can have a clearer view of this deep space object and the massive stars in its center that radiate a lot of energy and hydrogen into the surrounding space, creating the nebulosity. These stars belong to an open cluster IC 1590, members of which ionize the surrounding hydrogen.
NGC 281, a star forming region, is some 9,200 light years away from Earth, and it was discovered in 1883.
Data and processing: Goran Petrov
License: Creative Commons BY NC (free for non-commercial use, with attribution).
Click on the image to view in full size.
Location: Konjsko, Macedonia
Total integration time: 5 hours
Processed in PixInsight.
This photograph was made with the use of narrowband filters.
Narrowband Information was mapped to RGB (with a modified Hubble Palette).
Luminance information was synthetized from narrowband.