Astronomy Picture of the Day



NGC 281: The Pacman Nebula

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#78800 by @ 24.08.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
NGC 281: The Pacman Nebula


Explanation:
NGC 281 is a busy workshop of star formation.

Prominent features include a small
open cluster of stars,
a diffuse red-glowing
emission nebula, large lanes of obscuring
gas and
dust, and dense knots
of dust and gas in which stars may still be forming.

The open cluster
of stars IC 1590 visible around the center
has formed only in the last few million years.

The brightest member of this cluster is actually a
multiple-star system
shining light that helps ionize the nebula's gas,
causing the red glow visible throughout.

The lanes of dust
visible left of center are likely homes
of future star formation.

Particularly striking in the
above photograph are the dark
Bok globules
visible against the bright nebula.

The NGC 281 system, dubbed the
Pacman nebula for its
overall shape, lies about 10 thousand light years distant.




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