Pacman Nebula

Designation: Sh2-184 / NGC 281
Hemisphere: Northern
Constellation: Cassiopeia
Distance: 9,500 light years
Object type: Emission nebula


Discovered in 1883 by Edward Emerson Barnard, Sh2-184 is a bright emission nebula – a cloud of ionized gas that emits its own light. This cosmic cloud of space gas is located in the constellation Cassiopeia, approx. 9,500 light years from Earth and stretches 48 light years across.

It’s colloquially known as the Pacman Nebula due to the bizarre resemblance to the classic video game from the ’80s. The famous shape is carved by the dark dust lanes that spread unevenly across the glowing clouds of hydrogen.

Within the nebula it’s also possible to observe Bok globules – small and isolated dark nebulae containing dense amounts of dust and gas, which suggest new stars are in the making within the Pacman Nebula.


Mount: ZWO AM5
Main Telescope: Askar 107PHQ
Main camera: ZWO ASI294MC-Pro
Main camera filter: Optolong L-Ultimate
Guiding: Askar OAG
Guiding camera: ZWO ASI220MM Mini

Acquisition details

Total integration time: 8 hours
Acquisition: ZWO AsiAir Plus
Processing: PixInsight
Location: Luxembourg

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