Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory Photo Ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical "skyscapes" that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph "Rho Ophiuchi – A Wonderful Cosmic Cloud."
One of the most colorful wonders of the summer sky in the Northern Hemisphere, especially for deep-sky photographers, is the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex.
The bright, supergiant star Antares, with its orange glow, is visible near the top of this image. The vibrant cloud complex also features glowing, red hydrogen gas from emission nebulas and blue light from reflection nebulas, which, as the name suggests, reflect starlight from their surroundings.
Visible to the left of Antares is the globular star cluster Messier 4, or M4, which lies far beyond the colorful cloud complex, at some 7,000 light-years from Earth. The right half of the image is full of dark-brown regions consisting of interstellar dust grains that prevent light from passing through them.
To capture this image of Rho Ophiuchi, I used a modified Canon 6D DSLR astrophotography camera with a 200-millimeter focal lens with an aperture set to f/4, and a Takahashi EM-200 mount. The camera was programmed to shoot with an ISO setting of 1600 and an exposure time of 105 seconds. The final composite combines 67 frames with a total exposure time of 117 minutes. The image processing was completed with PixInsight 1.8.6 and Adobe Photoshop CC 2019.
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