Colorful Clouds of Antares and Rho Ophiuci

in Scorpius, Ophiucus

Colorful Clouds of Antares and Rho Ophiuci
Éder Iván

Colorful clouds decorate this region of the sky surrounding the bright supergiant star Antares (left bottom) and triple star Rho Ophiuchi (top right). Probably this is the most colorful area visible from Earth.

The blue reflection nebula (IC4604) surrounding Rho Ophiuchus represents the visible counterpart of a much larger but invisible molecular cloud permeating the region and known as the Ophiuchus cloud. The area is highlighted by the bright star Antares as well, a red supergiant star, located at the bottom left of the image. The central core of this giant molecular cloud can be seen as a dense dark nebula, where no star visible on this picture. Although if we would imaged in infrared light, we could look into the dust seeing star formation directly, spotting many young stars there.  
This is one of the nearest and most studied regions of star formation in the local Milky Way at a distance of about 520 light years.

The following deepsky objects can be observed in this image: M4, NGC6144, vdB104, vdB107, IC4605, IC4603, IC4604, IC4605, and many more LBN and LDN bright and dark nebulae.

Image details

SkyWatcher 100/550 Esprit apo
Home-modified Canon EOS 5DmkII
SkyWatcher EQ6 + Boxdörfer DynoStar
9x50mm SkyWatcher finder scope (50/180mm), Lacerta-MGen autoguider
Exposure time, filters:
2 frame mosaic, 40x5 min each @ ISO 1600
Location, date:
Hakos astrofarm, Namibia (1835m); 2012.06.20.
Observing conditions:
Transparency: 10/10, Seeing: 9/10, Temperature: +7°C
ImagesPlus, Registar, Photoshop

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