NGC 281 The Pacman Nebula

NGC281 Pacman Nebula

NGC 281, also known as the Pacman Nebula, is an emission nebula and a stellar nursery in Cassiopeia. The stellar nursery has given birth to the star cluster IC 1590 in the nebula center. Of course, the name comes from the popular video game character when framed differently; it also looks like a heart.

NGC 281 lies about 9500 light-years away.

The dark nebulae are also known as Bok Globules, resulting from gas and dust from star formation.

NGC 281 was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1883.

The area of the sky in OrionHere you can see the area of the sky in Cassiopeia imaged.

VdB 152

Acquisition Data

NGC281Click here for an annotated version of this target.

Processing Info

I took 42 frames at 300 seconds each and stacked them along with 50 dark and 60 flat and dark flat frames in PixInsight.

The following processes were performed in PixInsight:

  • Dynamic Crop
  • Dynamic Background Extraction
  • Background Neutralization
  • Photometric Color Calibration
  • EZ Denoise
  • Histogram Transformation
  • LRGBCombination
  • Curves Transformation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
  • Color Saturation
  • SCNR
  • Morphological Transformation (Generated StarMask using default settings)
  • Local Histogram Equalization (Performed with a range mask)

Once I found what I liked, I saved the files and went to Photoshop. I played around with the levels, vibrance, and saturation a bit. I then ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.

Acquisition Data

    • Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 f7.5 Air-Spaced Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
    • Camera: ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
    • Guide Scope: Orion ST80
    • Guide Camera: ZWO ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
    • Mount: iOptron CEM60
    • Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight is used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
    • Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Starizona Apex ED 0.65x L
      Reducer/Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser, High Res Stepper Motor, V3 Controller, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
    • Filters: Optolong L-eNhance 2″
    • Exposure Time: 3 hours 30 minutes (42 x 300 seconds) -10°C
    • Exposure Start: 22:00
    • Date: November 10, 2020
    • Location: Voorhees State Park, NJ, United States
    • GPS Coordinates: Lat. 40.68187, Long. -74.89797
    • Temperature: 58°F/14.4°C
    • Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4
    • job: 4062694
    • Avg. Moon age: 24.16 Days
    • Avg. Moon phase: 29.22%
    • RA center: 0h 52′ 42″
    • DEC center: +56° 34′ 30″
    • Orientation: 193.373 degrees
    • Field radius: 1.090 degrees
    • Magnitude: 7.3
    • Resolution: 3720 x 2330