NGC 281: The Pacman nebula

Imaged by Jean-Yves Beninger from Ollioules, France on 15 August 2023



High-mass stars are important because they are responsible for much of the energy pumped into our galaxy over its lifetime. Unfortunately, these stars are poorly understood because they are often found relatively far away and can be obscured by gas and dust.

The star cluster NGC 281 is an exception to this rule. It is located about 6,500 light years from Earth and, remarkably, almost 1,000 light years above the plane of the galaxy, giving astronomers a nearly unfettered view of the star formation within it.
The Pacman Nebula contains Bok globules, which are small and isolated dark nebulae containing dense amounts of dust and gas. These collections of cosmic gas and dust are often followed by the formation of new stars.
This nebula gets its name from the classic video game character it resembles.


Astro-Physics AP92, Field Flattener for 644mm focal length, f7

Rainbow Astro RST-135E mount

ZWO ASI2600MC camera with UVRI cut filter

Stack of 31 images of 5 minutes, bin 1x1