The Large Dark Nebula (NGC 281A)

The large dark nebula (NGC 281A)

The large dark nebula (NGC 281A) that makes up this “gaping mouth” is a molecular cloud made up predominantly of molecular hydrogen, but also trace amounts of dust and other gases.

New generations of Solar Systems are being forged within its cold interior. Once these young stars’ fusion engines switch on, they will irradiate their surroundings – heating up, ionizing and eroding away the remaining dark material from which they formed.

Originally the whole “Pac-Man” nebula would have been one large dark molecular cloud – the stars that formed early on at its center having progressively hollowed out the center of the nebula.

The gas in and around this central region is ionized by the copious UV radiation emitted by the central open star cluster (IC 1490), causing it to glow and providing the light by which this narrow band image was taken.



  • Location Image: London UK
  • Date: Various dates throughout Sept and October 2015
  • Telescope: Skywatcher Espirt 100ED
  • Filters: Chroma 3nm Ha, Chroma 3nm SII and Chroma 3nm OIII (taken during high moon transit)
  • Ha 1200s x 18, SII 1200s x 10, OIII 1200s x 10, Mount Ioprton CEM60

Author and Image Credits

Jaspal Chadha: The Large Dark Nebula

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1 Comment

  1. Lee

    This is one of the best images i have ever, and probably see from London

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