This image provides a concentrated view of IC 4604, a part of the expansive Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. Captured under the pristine, Bortle 2 skies of Tolmie, a small town in country Victoria, Australia, this image is a testament to the celestial beauty that can be uncovered away from city lights.
Approximately 15 hours of data across two panels went into creating this detailed snapshot of IC 4604. Given the size of the Rho Ophiuchi complex, the limited field of view (FOV) restricts the capture to select sections of this vast star-forming region, hence the focus on IC 4604.
IC 4604 is a reflection nebula, where the light from the embedded young, hot stars is scattered by the surrounding nebulous material, resulting in a bright, ethereal glow. The most luminous of these stars, s-Ophiuchi, casts a striking blue light that illuminates the nebula.
Though it’s not possible to capture the entirety of the Rho Ophiuchi complex due to FOV constraints, this image provides a detailed exploration of a specific segment within this complex. This approach allows for a focused study of IC 4604, revealing its structure and hues with remarkable clarity.