NGC 281 (Pacman Nebula)

NGC 281
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here for a higher resolution view taken with the Takahashi FS102.

Magnitude:  7.0 (open star cluster)
Size: about 35'
Distance: ?10,000 light years
RA: 0h 52m 48s
Dec: 56 degrees 37' 0"

NGC 281 is a star cluster associated with nebulosity.  The young, blue central stars are being formed from the surrounding gas, which emits Ha light after being excited by stellar radiation.  The nebulosity of this region is faint and can be best appreciated in long exposure images such as this.  There are prominent Bok Globules in the central portion of this image, best seen on this higher resolution view that I took through the Takahashi FS102.  The nickname "Pacman Nebula" derives from its appearence when viewed sideways (although I prefer the above orientation). 

Photographic Details:
Date:  September 10, 2004
Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  SXV-H9
Astronomik Ha filter (13 nm bandpass); Type II R, G, B filter set.
Exposures:  Ha:(HaR:G:B).  20 x 5' for Ha (100 minutes total, unbinned); 5 x 4' each for R, G, and B (20 minutes total for each color), all unbinned.
Conditions:  Temperature 52 degrees F; above average transparency; below average seeing as front was passing through; calm.
No darks, flats, or bias frames used.  Alignment done in ImagesPlus.  Sigma combined using RC Sigma Reject Plug-in for MaximDL.  Gradient correction of color channels performed in ImagesPlus.  DDP was performed in ImagesPlus (IP).  Subsequent levels and curves adjustments in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).  Ha was combined with RGB using the technique of Luminance Corrected RGB.

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