The Star Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

The Rho Ophiuchi Nebula is a large diffuse nebula located in the southwestern corner of the constellation Ophiuchus, surrounding the bright triple star Rho Ophiuchi. Several regions of bright and dark nebulosity surround this area.
At a distance of some 540 light-years, the nebula is one of the nearest star-forming regions to the Sun, and the colorful clouds surrounding Rho Ophiuchi represent the visible counterpart of a much larger but invisible molecular cloud permeating the region. About 1.5 million years ago, a massive star in upper Scorpius exploded as a supernova, sending a powerful shock wave through the Ophiuchus cloud triggering star formation that is still continuing today.
To the right of image is Antares – the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius and the sixteenth brightest star in the sky, at magnitude 1.06. It marks the heart of the Scorpion. A fierce stellar wind blowing from the surface of Antares has resulted in a circumstellar gas cloud, and in the sky, Antares lies embedded in a complex region of emission and reflection nebulosity.
The globular cluster M4 also appears nearby to the north of Antares, but is more than ten times further away at 7,200 light years and might well be the nearest globular to Earth.
Imaged from Bathurst, NSW Australia 7 July 2013 at 1900 hrs 

Canon 7D 

Canon 70-200L Lens 


ISO 2000 

Exp. 20 sec x 46 light and dark frames processed in Deep Sky Stacker


7 thoughts on “The Star Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi

  1. Rho Ophiuchi is one of my favorite celestial objects. When I get a better mount, that’s going to be one of my first targets to image. What kind of mount do you use? Nice work!


    1. Thanks for your comment. I use the Celestron fork alt/az mount with the Celestron CPC 9.25. I’m limited to about 25 secs for deep sky and rely heavily on stacking in Deep Sky Stacker to get enough light …. My aim is to eventually move up to an EQ when the budget permits !!
      I read your post on lunar imaging this morning – those 5 points were perfect. I used to waste hours trying to find focus and the correct exposure settings until like you I realised that the moon is like a searchlight in the sky and it’s fairly easy to process the lights upwards but not back down. Wes


      1. Yeah, I know what you mean. Mounts are pretty expensive. I use a beat-to-hell german equatorial thats almost falling apart. Its amazing how much a decent mount costs! I’ve burned through many exposures of the moon, as well. Your right, it may as well be spotlight hanging in the sky.


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