Imaging Rho Ophiuchi

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to image at a dark sky site. Rho Ophiuchi, a cloud complex located by the super red giant star Antares, has been on my bucket list for sometime and I finally had a chance to take a crack at! The complex itself is located right next to the Milky Way between the cosntellation Sagittarius and Scorpius:

By IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) - [1], CC BY 3.0,

Using a Canon 80D and an iOptron SkyTracker Pro, I took 25 images using the following settings:

  • Exposure: 90s
  • Focal length: 50 mm
  • F-stop: 2.8
  • ISO: 1600

With this data I was able to try out a new work flow which closely follows the one found here and is intended to preserve color through out image processing. The basic idea is to combine these images into a single image that contains lots of detail which can be pulled out with careful processing techniques. And the final result…


The orange and yellow colors are the result of star light being scattered from dust with in our galaxy. Faint reddish clouds can also be seen which are hydrogen emissions from various nebulas. The dark lanes are areas where dust is especially thick and very little light can pass through to us. This next image labels some objects of interest:


Here, M4, M6, and M7 are various star clusters found in the Messier Catalog. Over the next week or so, I will be working on a wide field shot of the Milky Way which was taken right after my Rho Ophiuchi images.