Behold: the colourful cloud complex of one of our nearest star forming regions.

And they call it a ‘dark nebula’. Honestly. To wit:

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 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 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. Although most of these features are visible through a small telescope pointed toward the constellations of OphiuchusScorpius, and Sagittarius, the only way to see the intricate details of the dust swirls, as featured above, is to use a long exposure camera.

(Image: Mario Cogo (Galax Lux))

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3 thoughts on “Rho Ophiuchi

  1. Slightly Bemused

    I think I may have mentioned that I am loving this series! Please keep it up.

    I once had the pleasure of seeing this with my own eye (left, my right was crap) through a telescope, but only as a vague blur. The colours are not as vivid to the eye, and certainly the details not visible. But it is such a joy to be able to find such beauty in the sky.

  2. Mickey Twopints

    Likewise loving it.

    +infinity fellas!

    Slightly Bemused, have you ever had the opportunity to watch any of the NASA iMax movies? Breathtaking stuff.

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I agree, they are absolutely incredible, but only saw a few in iMax, sadly :(

      Another great resource is the NASA deep space database, with so many wonderful photos, and so much information.

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