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Contains:  IC 4605, NGC 6144, rho Oph nebula, IC 4604, IC 4603, M 4, NGC 6121, M 80, NGC 6093, The star τSco, The star 22Sco, The star Antares (αSco), The star ρOph, The star Al Niyat (σSco), The star οSco, The star 12Sco, The star 13Sco, Part of the constellation Scorpius (Sco)
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The Colors of Antares - The Scorpion's Heart, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...
The Colors of Antares - The Scorpion's Heart

The Colors of Antares - The Scorpion's Heart

Technical card

Resolution: 3908x2669

Dates:July 31, 2019Aug. 1, 2019

Frames: 40x180" ISO800

Integration: 2.0 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~17

Bias: ~50

Avg. Moon age: 14.62 days

Avg. Moon phase: 0.40%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 3.00

Mean SQM: 21.70

Mean FWHM: 3.30

Temperature: 15.50 job: 2866199

RA center: 248.369 degrees

DEC center: -25.228 degrees

Pixel scale: 9.141 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 359.615 degrees

Field radius: 6.009 degrees

Data source: Traveller


This expansive wide field shows the Scorpion’s Heart, Antares, and its surrounding – the Rho Ophiuchi Complex. The region has it all: emission, reflection, dark nebulae; globular clusters; gas, dust and a multitude of stars. Actually, the “gradient” from the darker right to lighter left background is caused by the increase of stars in the direction of the Milky Way central bulge. The region is about 500 light years away [1]. My imaged also shows a wanderer – a planet – the blazingly bright Jupiter, ‘visiting’ the field.

Back in early 20th century, pioneer astrophotographer Edward Emerson Barnard photographed a similar field. In 1895, he wrote: “For many years I have known of a vast but vague nebulosity in the region of Antares. [...] I have recently photographed this region. The resulting pictures have shown that a magnificent nebula occupies a large portion of this region of the sky.” [2]. His 1905’s 4h30m exposure from Mt. Wilson is a great inspiration, featured in the legendary “Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way” [3]. I sometimes wonder if Barnard ever imagined amateurs, some 120 years later, would get this kind of result, out of relatively simple equipment.

My friends, it has been a little since I posted here: I was away in some holidays =D. Now I’m back from the 12º Encontro Brasileiro de Astrofotografia (12th Brazilian Astrophotography Meeting). From July 28th to August 3rd, I travelled some 1200km to share imaging nights with wonderful people under great skies. This was my second “EBA”! I cannot describe in words the joy of participating in such an event: some 30 other guys passionate about the same thing as you, in a great location, photographing all night. It is something that must be felt. Great conversations followed during the daytime. If I had to describe this year’s “EBA” in a single word, it would be FRIENDSHIP – and that, to me, is what ultimately astroimaging should be all about.

I thank Gilberto and Fatima Rossi for the wonderful hosting. I also thank Cristian and Rosber for the ride to and from Brasilia. I especially thank Diniz, Pedro Ré, Mattei, Kiko, Wellerson, Fernando, Irineu, Marcos and André for the help. I wish I named everyone, but I risk forgetting some people. Therefore, I thank each and everyone for being there – you guys made the “EBA” some memorable days to me.

Less important [although not completely uninmportant] than the friendships strengthened and the lessons learned, I came back with almost 100GB of material to post-process. As I travelled by plane (and man what a task is it to fit everything in the trunks and keep it below the weight limit!), I used my wide field setup. My gear consisted of 3 DSLRs and 7 lenses, rendering some 3000 files – from daylight time lapses to deep-sky light frames [40h of DSO material]. This was not the most weather-stable EBA, but I could nonetheless produce some nice results. This is the first shared here. Some 20+ images are still in the processing queue =D.

Constructive criticism, comments and suggestions are more than welcome in the comments section. Thank you for taking your time to look at this image!

Date: 30 July and 1 August 2019.
Location: GO, Brazil. Dark-Rural Skies (Bortle 2-3, calculated SQM ~21.7)
Camera: Canon EOS T5/1200D (modded), at ISO 800
Optics: Samyang 135mm f/2, operated at f/2.8 (30/07) and f/2.0 (01/08)
Mount: Sky-Watcher HEQ5, tracking, guided
Exposure Detail: 21x180s @f/2.8 + 19x180s @f/2. Total integration 120min or 2h.

[1] APOD 2019/05/13
[2] “On a great photographic nebula in Scorpio, near Antares.” E. E. Barnard; Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 55, p.453; 1895
[3] “Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way”. E. E. Barnard, 1927.



Gabriel R. Santos...
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


The Colors of Antares - The Scorpion's Heart, 


            Gabriel R. Santos...