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Rho Ophiuchus Nebula
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This is my first cut at the Rho Ophiuchus Nebula and surrounding region.
"Click the image to see a larger view"


Image aquisition details and astronomical information below:

Rho-Ophiuchus Region Image Technical Details:


Location:      Lockwood Valley, CA

Time:            2005-07-07/08/09

OTA:           Tak FSQ 106N

Mount:         AP 1200

Camera        SBIG STL11k, Internal Filter Wheel, Astrodon Filters

Guider          SBIG ST402XME on Tak FS-60C

Focusing:      Robofocus and FocusMax

Capture:       CCDSoft

Processing:   Ray Gralak’s Sigma (PreBeta 11), Registar, PhotoshopCS

Exposure:     Lum (1x1) = 1x 20 Min + 5x10 Min,  R (2x2) = 4 x 10 Min,
                    G (2x2) = 6 x 10 Min, B (2x2) = 5 x 10 Min
FOV:           Approximately 234 x 154 arcminutes before slight cropping
Orientation:  North is left (line running from center of M4 to Rho Oph
                   runs nearly straight North)

Image Description:

The Constellation Ophiuchus is one of the larger constellations in the equatorial section of the sky. Although the Ophiuchus constellation is not included in the original Zodiac, the sun now passes through this constellation each December.  The sun did not pass through the Ophiuchus constellation 3000 years ago when the Babylonians created the 12 Zodiac signs, but has since joined the other 12 constellations in the sun’s path due to the precession of the Earth.


The Rho Ophiuchus Nebula Complex (IC4604) and the surrounding area lies within the Ophiuchus Constellation,  and is one of the most interesting and beautiful areas in the entire sky. Featuring the bright star Antares, the Ophiuchi Triple Star and surrounding IC4604 Reflection Nebula, M4 Globular Cluster, and the smaller NGC 6144 Globular Cluster, as well as various dark nebula, this area holds something of interest for any astronomer or deep space imager. The beautiful blue IC 4604 reflection nebula surrounding the Rho Ophiuchi Triple Star is one of the standout features in this area. It is a result of interstellar dust that is illuminated by nearby stars. The red areas of this image are red emission nebulae that are created by hydrogen gas emitting light. The dark areas are not blank sky, but dark nebula where thick dust clouds are obscuring background stars. The giant red-giant star Antares dominates the image and is surrounded by subtle and unusual yellow reflection nebulosity. Antares is approximately 700 times larger and 9000 more luminous than our Sun.


Key Image Elements:

IC 4604 is the large blue reflection nebula which surrounds the Rho Ophiuchi Triple Star on the left and vertically centered in image.

IC 4603 is the blue reflection nebula to the right of the Rho Ophiuchus blue reflection nebula.

Antares is the large, bright star surrounded by the yellow reflection nebula and located in the lower right hand corner of the image.

M4 is the larger globular star cluster that is located on the right side towards the upper right hand corner of the image.

NGC 6144 is the smaller globular star cluster and is located just left of an imaginary line between Antares and the larger M4 Globular Star Cluster.

IC 4605 is the blue nebula at the bottom middle of the image.

SH2-9 is the red Emission nebula at the top of the image.

All images, text, and data on this site are copyrighted. They may not be used except by written permission from Rick Wiggins. All rights reserved.
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