Object Data: The region around Antares (Scorpius) is one of the most amazing and beautiful in the entire night sky. It contains a complex mix of emission nebulae, reflection nebulae, dust lanes which obscure the background stars, and star clusters. The giant yellow star Antares dominates the central region of this photo and it is surrounded by an emission nebula to the south and a very rare and beautiful yellow reflection nebula to the north. To the north of the photo is the tri-star Rho Ophiuchus which is surrounded by a large blue reflection nebula called IC 4604. The dark dust lanes of the Milky Way can be seen spiralling eastwards from this region. The small bright reflection nebula to the north of Antares is IC 4605, reflecting the light from the magnitude 4.5 star 22 Scorpious. To the right of the photo is the bright star Sigma Scorpious surrounded by the bright emission nebula Sh2-9. To the south east of this can be seen the bright globular cluster M4. Finally to the north west of Antares is the small globular cluster NGC 6144.
Date: 02/06/08 & 10/06/08
Location: Southern France
Conditions: Calm, no dew. Transparency=8, Seeing=6
Optics: Nikon 300mm f/2.8 EDF lens (working at f/4) on Losmandy male-to-male plate.
Mount: AP 900 GTO on Portable Pier
Camera: SBIG STL-11K, SBIG LRGBC filter set, -20°C
Guiding: Integral STL-11K autoguider
Exposure: LRGB Seq: 13x 8minutes; 3x 8 : 5.2 : 10 minutes (binned 2x2)
Processing: Image acquisition, calibration, and initial processing using Maxim DL, subsequent processing in RegiStar and Photoshop.
Notes: Conditions very difficult with thunderstorms almost every day. Only two nights out of fifteen were possible and even so were quite poor with passing low level cloud on second night. This, combined with the very low elevation (even from southern France) meant that there was only a 3 hour window for imaging. Hence only 13 usable images were acquired. Average elevation of Antares during exposures was 18 degrees.