IC4603 Reflection Nebula in Ophiuchus


See a larger image at: IC4603 (1200x800 pixels)

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 About This Image

IC4603 is a beautiful reflection nebula lying in the southern tip of Ophiuchus between Sagittarius and Scorpius. Too dim to be seen at the eyepiece of a telescope, this colorful reflection nebula reveals its beauty only in deep photographic or CCD exposures. Dense clouds of interstellar gas and dust fill this region of space, blocking our view of many stars that would otherwise be visible in this image. Holes in these clouds create windows through which the dense star clouds of the galaxy's core can be glimpsed. These clouds scatter and reflect the light from the blue-hot stars near the center of the field. At the bottom of this image the yellow glow is created by the scattered and reflected light from Antares, located about two degrees to the south. A small but interesting fan-shaped emission & reflection nebula can be seen just left and slightly below center.

This image spans about 1.0 by 1.5 degrees of sky. For comparison, the full moon spans about 0.5 degree.