8 October 2016 | Colorful Cosmic Clouds

Rho Ophuichi

Credit: Marco Verstraaten | Click image to enlarge

Image Data

  • Camera: Nikon D810a @ iso 800
  • Exposure time: 10 sec subs, 180 minutes in total.
  • Exposure date: 2016
  • Location: Damara Desert, Namibia
  • Instrument: William Optics Star 71 APO
  • Mount: Vixen GP

This spectacular image, made in the Damara desert in Namibia by Dutch (astro)photographer Marco Verstraaten, shows the colorful region of dark and bright clouds surrounding the binary star system of Rho Ophiuchi . The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is located in The Serpent Bearer (constellation of Ophiuchus).

You can find Rho Ophiuchi above and to the left of the middle of this image (the bright triple star) and the blue reflection nebula surrounding it is known as IC 4604. The star-cluster on the top right is Messier 4 (M4), the first ever globular cluster in which individual stars were resolved.

Although it may seem M4 is part of these colorful cosmic clouds, it is actually at a much further distance. When you follow M4 to below the centre of the image you will come across another much smaller globular cluster which is known as NGC 6144. Just like M4 this cluster is at a much further distance than Rho Ophiuchi.

The dark line of clouds is known as nebula B44, but is more commonly referred to as The Dark River.

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