IC4603 Reflection Nebula in Ophiuchus
See a larger image at: IC4603 (1200x800 pixels)
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.
image spans about 1.0 by 1.5 degrees of sky. For comparison, the full moon
spans about 0.5 degree.