27 February 2017 | NGC 281

The Pacman Nebula Huw Orwig

Image credit & copyright: Huw Orwig | Click image to enlarge

Image Data

  • Camera: QSI 6120
  • Optics: Takahashi FSQ-106ED
  • Mount: AZ-EQ6
  • Filters: Astrodon
  • Exposure: RGB: 90 minutes each in 5 minute subs, Ha: 3 hours in 30 minute subs

NGC 281, or the Pacman nebula sits in the Queens constellation, Cassiopeia, aside the bright star Shedar. This nebula was discovered by the famous observer, and pioneering Astrophotographer E.E. Barnard in 1883. This Hydrogen Alpha emitting region shape resembles the 1980s arcade game character and the moniker has stuck ever since.

Almost dissecting the nebula is a saw tooth shaped Dark nebula. This band creates a striking sharply defined dark silhouette against the background emission nebula. Throughout the image close to this dark band, many Bok globules can be seen. Bok globules are dense areas of gas containing Helium, Carbon, Hydrogen and Silicate dust. These clouds can become star forming regions, and some harbour Herbig Haro objects, which are small patches of nebulosity associated with newly born stars, and are formed when narrow jets of gas ejected by those stars collide with nearby clouds of gas and dust at speeds of several hundred kilometres per second objects.

In this image Welsh Astrophotographer Huw Orwig captured 90mins of RGB and 3 hours of Ha data with an FSQ106 to create this super detailed image of the Pacman nebula.

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