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More Images of NGC 281
Click for large jpg X-ray
Jpeg, Tif, PS
Click for large jpg Infrared
Jpeg, Tif, PS
X-ray & Infrared Images of NGC 281
These images of NGC 281 show X-ray data from Chandra and infrared observations from Spitzer. The high-mass stars in NGC 281 drive many aspects of their galactic environment through powerful winds flowing from their surfaces and intense radiation that heats surrounding gas, "boiling it away" into interstellar space. This process results in the formation of large columns of gas and dust, as seen on the left side of the image. These structures likely contain newly forming stars. The eventual deaths of massive stars as supernovas will also seed the galaxy with material and energy.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk; IR: NASA/JPL/CfA/S.Wolk)
Click for large jpg Comparison
Jpeg, Tif, PS
Click for large jpg Optical Full field
Jpeg, Tif, PS
Comparison of Optical and Infrared Images of NGC 281
This graphic compares optical and infared images of the central region of NGC 281, known informally as the "Pacman Nebula". In the optical image the "mouth" of the Pacman character appears dark because of obscuration by dust and gas, but in the infrared Spitzer image the dust in this region glows brightly. X-ray data from Chandra is shown in purple in both.
The optical and X-ray image on the right shows a large-field optical image with the Chandra data (as released in 2007). The red box represents the smaller field of view for the 2011 release.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk; IR: NASA/JPL/CfA/S.Wolk)

NGC 281 with Scale Bar
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk; IR: NASA/JPL/CfA/S.Wolk

NGC 281 (September 28, 2011)