Pacman nebula

pacman nebula in cassiopeia DSLRThe Pacman nebula is named after the classic 80’s arcade game character, but to me it looks much more like an angler fish! The little nebula (officially named NGC 281) sits alongside the bright yellow star Scheder, inside the familiar W constellation of Cassiopeia.

A surprising amount of detail is captured in the 66 minute exposure taken at 180mm. Using the softon filter to enhance the string of bright nearby stars forms an attractive triangle with the nebula…

pacman nebulaImage details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 66 minutes (132 x 30 seconds) at iso 1600 using didymium filter, plus 3 minutes (6 x 30 seconds) at iso 1600 using . Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with home made barn door tracker.


Bonus autumn aurora…

For reasons not fully understood, you’re around twice as likely to see an aurora in spring or autumn then in summer or winter. Even a mild solar flare or gust of solar wind from a coronal hole can spark off a display. This was a great example as it took me completely by surprise a couple of nights before taking the pacman nebula shots. I did managed to get a tantalising glimpse of the display through the clouds thanks to some timely twitter notifications..

aurora animationImage details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 50mm f1.8 D at f2.8. 10 second exposures at iso 1600. Animated in Photoshop.


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