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The Head and Claws of Scorpius | by TransientAstronomer
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The Head and Claws of Scorpius

This single image of the area around the head and claws of the Constellation Scorpius taken back in July, 2017 highlights the colorful areas of mostly dark reflection nebulae located within this portion of the night sky.


The most notable areas of nebulosity are the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex which is located in the center of this image with red, blue and yellow/orange nebulosity, and the Blue Horsehead Nebula the blue nebula to the left of Rho Ophiuchi. While the bulk of Rho Ophiuchi is technically in the Constellation Ophiuchus (basically everything to the left of Antares the bright yellow star) to me I always consider it also a part of Scorpius since the brightest star in Rho Ophiuchi, Antares is also the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.


This is definitely one of my favorite areas of the sky because of its inherent striking beauty but also because of the difference in distances relative to the perceptive visual closeness of the objects in Rho Ophiuchi. If you look closely just above Antares you'll see what at first glance might appear to be a fuzzy star is actually a Globular Cluster of stars orbiting the Milky Way galaxy, Messier 4 or M4 for short. The majority of the nebulae in Rho Ophiuchi are relatively close to us at ~390 light-years away but M4 is much farther at ~7,200 light-years distant about 18 times as distant.


Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex:




Blue Horsehead Nebula:


Technical Info:


1x240" Light at 1600ISO

No calibration frames were used.


Camera: Canon 6D Hutech UV/IR Mod

Lens: Zeiss 85mm Otus f1.4 @ f4

Mount: Celestron Advanced VX

Guide Scope: Orion Mag Mini With SSAG


Capture Software: Backyard EOS

Processing: Photoshop CC


Date: 7/22/2017

Location: Los Padres National Forest, CA

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Uploaded on May 15, 2018