NGC 281 (SH2-184) / IC 1590 (Lund 34, Cr 8) Bright Nebula / Open Cluster in Cassiopeia

Located at: RA 00 hours 53 minutes 00 seconds, Dec +56 degrees 38 minutes 00 seconds

Size: 21' x 21' / 4.0' Magnitude: -- / 7.4 Class: Emission (Sharpless) 3 2 3 / n (involved in nebulosity)

North is up

West to the right


14.5" f5 Newtonian reflector


 ST-8XME, self-guided, binned 1x1, temp -15c & -20c, camera control MaxIm DL 4.56


Lumicon Red filter, 680 minutes  (68 x 10 minute subs), 11/4/5/6/2013; seeing 3.7-4.8 FWHM per CCDStack


CCDStack 2.75.4973.15338, Photoshop CS5.1


 Rolling Roof Observatory, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 (+34d 13m 29s -118h 52m 20s)

Notes: IC 1590 is the little open cluster centered on the bright star near the top center of this image. The nebulosity of NGC 281 is also known as the 'Packman' nebula. The seeing was not too good for any of the three nights I imaged NGC 281, as we were experiencing a mild 'wind event' during this time frame. See the 8" image.

From the NGC / IC Project:

Contemporary Visual Observation(s) for NGC 281
NGC 0281 = IC 11 = IC 1590 = Cr 8 = LBN 616 = Sh 2-184 = "Pac-Man Nebula"
00 52 48 +56 37.7
Size 35x30

17.5" (9/28/02): the bright central quadruple (ADS 719 = Burnham 1) contains a 
bright mag 8.6/9.2/9.8 trio at 4" and 9".  At 140x, a fourth fainter companion 
(mag ~10.1) at 1.54" separation is just visible close following the brightest 
member and is cleanly resolved at 324x.

17.5" (10/17/98): spectacular view of this detailed HII region at 100x using an 
OIII filter.  This 15' nebulous complex has a mushroom appearance and is 
separated into three main lobes apparently by dust.  The brightest and largest 
lobe is following a bright triple star embedded near the center (8.6/9.2/9.8 at 
4" and 9").  There appears to be a much fainter detached piece off the south end 
of this lobe.  Preceding the triple star is a section which is noticeably 
elongated and irregular in surface brightness fading to the NW.  The section to 
the north is faintest and separated from the eastern lobe by a curving dark 
lane.  A dark intrusion is visible south of the triple star which appears to be 
due to obscuring dust.

13" (8/24/84): very large, fascinating nebulosity, very irregular, dark gaps 
between sections, five brighter stars involved mag 8.6-12.5.  The brightest star 
is a very close double.

Discovered by Barnard on 26 November 1881 (Sidereal Messenger, Vol 2, p226 and 
AN 108:369, 1884) and described as a large, faint nebula, very diffuse.  
Incorrectly listed as an open cluster in the RNGC (Barnard made no reference to 
a cluster).  IC 1590 is a large, scattered cluster on the W side.  Barnard's IC 
11 was placed 32 tmin W, but Corwin notes that his description "vF, L, triple * 
on np corner" points to N281.

- by Steve Gottlieb