Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex and the Blue Horsehead

This area is one of the most colorful and dare I say, beautiful parts of the sky. The dark nebula of gas and dust is located 1 degree south of the star Rho Ophiuchi. The Cloud Complex is one of the closest star-forming regions to our Solar system.
The yellow part of the cloud complex is reflecting the yellow light from Antares, located around 600 lightyears from us.

This wide field image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex also shows the remarkable Blue Horsehead. The Blue Horsehead is made of dark, interstellar dust that is reflecting the light of the star. Due to the tendency of interstellar dust to more strongly scatter blue starlight, you see the really bright blue color in the nebula.
The reflection nebula around the 2 stars near the ‘ear of the horsehead’ is IC4601.

Also in this image are a view globular clusters. The biggest near Antares is M4. The small one really close to Antares is NGC6144. Further away to the left, at the same level as Antares and NGC6144 you can find M80.

Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex Acquisition details

Date: July 11
Location: Kiripotib, Namibia
Optics: Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 used at 80mm F4
Mount: Fornax 51
Camera: Unmodified Nikon D5100
Guiding: Lacerta MGEN
Exposures: 33x7min ISO800

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