NGC 281 (Pacman Nebula) in Ha light

NGC 281
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

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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 in Ha as it is excited by stellar radiation.  The nebulosity of this region is faint and can be best appreciated in long exposure images such as this.  The nickname "Pacman Nebula" derives from its appearence when viewed sideways (although I prefer the above orientation). 

Photographic Details:
Date:  August 7, 2005
Scope:  Takahashi FS102 at f8, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  Maxcam CM10.

Astrodon Ha filter (6 nm bandpass).
Exposures:  8 x 10' each.  Total exposure: 80 minutes.
Conditions:  Temperature 75 degrees F; above average transparency, below average seeing; calm; intermittent clouds- only enough clear skies for 80 minutes of exposure. 
Post-processing:  Subs were debloomed with Ron Wodaski's Debloomer software, dark frame calibrated, and then aligned in Registar.  Sigma combined using RC Sigma Reject MaximDL, followed by DDP in ImagesPlus (IP).  Further processing in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).

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