The Rho Ophiuchi Complex

The colorful clouds surrounding the star system Rho Ophiuchi compose one of the closest star forming regions. Rho Ophiuchi itself is a binary star system visible in the blue reflection nebula just to the left of the image center. The star system, located only 400 light years away, is distinguished by its multi-colored surroundings, which include a red emission nebula and numerous light and dark brown dust lanes. Near the lower left of the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud system is the yellow star Antares, while a distant but coincidently-superposed globular cluster of stars, M4, is visible just to the right of Antares. Near the image top right lies IC 4592, the Blue Horsehead nebula. The blue glow that surrounds the Blue Horsehead’s eye (and other stars around the image) is a reflection nebula composed of fine dust. On the featured image bottom right is a geometrically angled reflection nebula cataloged as Sharpless 1. Here, the bright star near the dust vortex creates the light of surrounding reflection nebula. From Southern France, this area in the sky reaches a maximum altitude of only 20°. Nevertheless conditions are better than these from my light-polluted home town at 50° latitude.

The Rho Ophiuchi Complex

Telescope: Samyang 135mm f/2 @ f/2.4
Camera: Modified Canon Eos 6D
Mount: Skywatcher Sky Adventurer
Exposure: 1.8 hours (109x60s)
Date: July 2020
Location: Southern Alps, France

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