D. Heilman Astrophotography

NGC281 - PacMan Nebula

NGC 281 is found the constellation of Cassiopeia and is estimated at 10,000 light years distant.  The young star cluster at its core, IC 1590 has sculpted the gasses and dust in the nebula into dramatic forms.  Pillars of gas are visible and likely contain protostars that resist erosion from the powerful stellar winds of the central cluster.  Dust perfuses the nebula, shaped into foreground structures and adding depth to the region from our Earthly perspective.  If the estimated distance is correct, the nebula spans 80 light years.  Visual observers coined the name PacMan for the nebula as it’s shape roughly matches that of the popular 80’s video game icon (mouth facing up and right).