NGC 281 is an HII nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia. Named only ‘recently’, it has been given the common name of “Pacman Nebula” due to its remote resemblance (if rotated correctly) to the video game character. The nebula is about 80 light years in diameter at its estimated distance of 10,000 light years.
Also visible are several small dark areas known as Bok globules. These are areas of very dense dust and gas and can be the location of new star birth. Additionally, visible in the upper right quadrant are several sculpted columns slowly eroding from the intense output of IC 1590; the star cluster illuminating the nebula.