Look through the cosmic cloud cataloged as
and it's almost easy to miss stars of open cluster
the nebula, that cluster's young, massive stars
ultimately power the pervasive
The eye-catching shapes looming in
of NGC 281 are sculpted columns and dense
dust globules seen in silhouette,
eroded by intense, energetic winds and radiation
from the hot cluster stars.
If they survive long enough,
the dusty structures could also be sites of future star formation.
the Pacman Nebula because of its overall shape,
NGC 281 is about 10,000 light-years away in the constellation
This composite image was made through
but combines emission from the nebula's hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms
in a visible spectrum palette.
over 80 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 281.