|NGC 281 "Pac Man Nebula": Emission Nebula (Cassiopeia) RA: 00h 52.8m / DEC: +56° 37'.7|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
NGC 281 is a large, richly detailed emission nebula in Cassiopeia. The members of the Saguaro Astronomy Club in Phoenix, Arizona, have dubbed this the Pac man nebula. The moniker fits well. My sketch records the view at 36X in my 10-inch Starfinder Newtonian. I used a 32-mm TeleVue Plossl fitted with a Lumicon OIII filter to make the observation. NGC 281 covers a 25'x20' area and features a brighter central section. This brighter region appears L-shaped. The surrounding nebulosity has a more rounded appearance. The magnitude 7.4 star at the heart of NGC 281 is HD 5005. My drawing records it and 28 additional field stars. NGC 281 is associated with an open star cluster. However, the cluster is very difficult to detect visually. Most of the 63 identified members are 13th magnitude and fainter, and spread over an area nearly equal in size to the nebula, itself. You'll find the Pac man nebula 1.7 degrees east of 2.2 magnitude Shedir, Alpha Cassiopeiae.
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Revised: February 17, 2002 [WDF]