NGC 281

NGC 281

NGC 281. © IAC/RGO/D. Malin.

NGC 281, also known as the PacMan Nebula, is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeiae, which is an active region of star formation. The stars of the young open cluster IC 1590, which is embedded in the nebula, provide the radiation that keeps NGC 281 ionized. The most important contributor of ionizing radiation is the binary star HD 5005 (the bright star seen at the heart of the nebula), the primary of which is a massive O star (visual magnitude 7.8). Dark lanes of dust are likely areas of future star formation, while multiple dark Bok globules are places in which stars are presently in the process of being formed.


visual magnitude 7.3
angular size 35'
distance 10,000 light-years (3,000 pc)
position R.A. 00h 52m 25.1s,
Dec. +00° 48' 23.6"
other designations LBN 123.17-06.28, C 0049+563,
Ced 3, CTB 7, DA 25, LBN 616,
OCISM 68, OCl 313, SH 2-184