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Pac-Man Nebula NGC 281 - Updated with 7hrs Ha

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This turned out ok - its been a bit of a test target as I have been setting up my AT106EDT with reducer, mono camera and new large 2" filter wheel, so lots of tweaking to avoid the filter wheel colliding with the pier and setting up NINA meridian flip conditions, basically stop 5 mins before flip and flip 5 mins after - that works and filter wheel doesnt touch the pier 🙂


Between Sunday night and last night, Thursday I gathered 5 hrs combined  on three filters. The Pac-Man is an interesting target in that the bright central region is quite straightforward to capture, but it sits in a large area of Ha gas and balancing that in processing to highlight the Ha cloud and not over stretching the core is a challenge. I didnt have a lot of Ha  data anyway so I have probably pushed the Ha integration further than it supports but RC-Noise XT  helps..


The Pac-Man nebula, NGC 281, lies approx 9,200 light years from earth and lies in northern constellation of Cassiopeia and is part of the Milky Way's Perseus Spiral Arm. The nebula has been measured/estimated to be 49 light years in diameter.


Telescope: AT106EDT with Ricardi 0.75X FF/FR

Camera:  ASI2600MM

Filters Antlia 3nm Ha, Oiii, Sii

All captured as 5 minute subs

Ha : 2hrs

Sii : 2hrs

Oiii : 1hr


Used NINA to control capture then APP and Pixinsight to process.

The colour palette is a 50:50 mix of AIP_SHO and Foraxx scripts with HOO stars








Edited by Astrobdlbug
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3 hours ago, Carastro said:

Don't think I have seen so much nebulosity surrounding the Pacman before

Thanks Carole, I saw an image a while ago that showed how much Ha nebulosity was in this area, so I processed the image with GHS to tease out this nebulosity as a deliberate choice - it’s faint and I am hoping to add more Ha to see how far I can go in highlighting this 


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  • Astrobdlbug changed the title to Pac-Man Nebula NGC 281 - Updated with 7hrs Ha

Just updated the image with a different colour palette and addition of 7 hrs of Ha. Got some clear skies Friday and Sunday and although was full moon, 3nm Antlia still came through with some good Ha data. Sunday was very opportunistic in that I was settled down watching F1 Mexio GP and then it got red flagged, looked outside, saw it was clear, so while the red flag was on the race I quickly opened the POD and got my NGC281 NINA sequence up and running - left it to do its thing and went back in to watch end of GP, got 3.5 hrs in the end by 1am so bit of a result really..


I think that the Ha that surrounds NGC 281 is faint and the main nebula is very bright making it quite a good target to achieve an image in one night.
I used MultiScale HDR applied to the HA as pushing the faint Ha can quite easily blow out the main nebula core.

Anyway been a bit of fun with what started out as a shake down of  my narrownabd rig for winter, AT106EDT a 5 position filter wheen with 2" Antlia filters and ASI2600MM - lets see how  this winter turns out weather wise...




This is the processed Ha, with and without stars :





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