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Collinder 8

Cr 8, IC 1590

The Pacman Nebula, NGC 281, is a broad emission nebula some forty light years across, in the constellation of Cassiopeia. The nebula, which lies a little less than ten thousand light years from the Sun, contains regions of star formation, and is illuminated by the light of one star cluster in particular, a cluster that formed within it some 3.5 million years ago. Relatively young in stellar terms, this cluster is designated Collinder 8 or IC 1590.

The cluster Collinder 8 (or IC 1590) within the depths of the Pacman Nebula, NGC 281. The dark patches surrounding the cluster are Bok globules, areas of particularly dense material from which new stars or clusters might potentially emerge in the future. Imagery provided by Aladin sky atlas

The cluster contains about three hundred stars in total, centred around the hot O-type star HD 5005 (designated 'B 1' or 'Burnham 1' by its discoverer, Sherburne Wesley Burnham). HD 5005 shines at eighth magnitude as seen from Earth, but at a distance of some ten thousand light years, this gives an absolute magnitude of approximately -4 (that is, at a standard distance of ten parsecs, it would rival the brightness of Venus in Earth's sky). This is a multiple star with at least four companions (and very possibly more) spread over a region of some twenty-six Astronomical Units.


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