NGC 281 – Pacman Nebula



The Pacman nebula, named after the popular video game character, is an emission nebula approximately 6.5 thousand light years away, and situated about 1,000 light years above the galactic plane. You can find it in the sky near the constellation of Cassiopeia. It contains numerous dense accumulations of gas and dust; ideal settings for the creation of new stars. Pacman also hosts a population of high-mass stars that finish their lives as supernovae explosions, blasting debris into the galactic neighborhood. This star-stuff later serves as building material for new stars and planets. The energy from these high-mass stars is what helps to sculpt the nebulous gases into such beautiful shapes.