The Deep Photographic Guide to the

The constellation of the month


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Latin: Ophiuchus (Oph)
English: Serpent Bearer Spanish: Ofiuco
German: Schlangenträger French: Serpentaire

The large constellation of Ophiuchus fills the photography (see lines) and extends even somewhat more out. It lies below of Hercules and in between of the head (right) and the tail of the serpent (left) which the "serpent bearer" is carrying.

In mid of June Ophiuchus culminates at about 23:30 LT (11:30 pm). The declination of the constellation borders ranges from -30 to +14 degrees. Brightest star is Ras Alhague, visible in the upper left, with a visual brightness of 2.14 mag.

The field is very close to the direction of the galactic center which lies eight degrees below the lower left image corner. Therefore a lot of galactic deep sky objects join the field. Ophiuchus is famous for its large number of globular star clusters. The galactic distribution of globulars is spherical with a concentration towards the galactic center. In contrast to this is the disky distribution of field stars and open star clusters which defines the galactic plane. Brightest globulars above are M 10 and M 12 which are well visible with binoculars. Interesting is the huge emission nebula Sharpless 27. Its very low surface brightness is visually not detectable, even with a large aperture. A small area of Ophiuchus south of the image border contains the interesting region around Rho Ophiuchi.

© all photographs taken by Till Credner and Sven Kohle