NGC-281 is a large hydrogen emission nebula located in the constellation of Cassiopiea, located just below the center of the "W" shape formed by the main stars in the constellation. Also known as Sharpless 2-184.
It lies 9500 light years from Earth and is 90 light years in diameter. It was discovered by Edward E. Barnard in 1883. NGC-281 is sometimes called "The Pac Man Nebula" because its shape resembles the popular electronic game icon. The nebula is centered on the bright multiple star HD-5005, radiation from which excites the cloud of hydrogen gas and causes it to glow.
This image, acquired on September 18, 2012, is a 48 minute integration of 6 minute exposures through the Celestron C-11 at f/2, using the HyperStar III imaging system and the Starlight Express SXVR-H694C color CCD camera, operating at -`10 degrees below ambient temperature and binned 1 X 1. Guided, captured and combined using Maxim DL5 Pro. Post processed using PhotoShop CS2, Gradient XTerminator, StarShrink, Carboni's Astro Tools, and NoiseWare.