Ophiuchus - Downloadable article
Summer splendors, such as globular clusters and planetary nebulae, dominate the Serpent-Bearer.
March 3, 2009
|This downloadable article is from an Astronomy magazine 45-article series called "Celestial Portraits." The collection highlights all 88 constellations in the sky and explains how to observe each constellation's deep-sky targets. The articles feature star charts, stunning pictures, and constellation mythology. We've put together 11 digital packages. Each one contains four Celestial Portraits articles for you to purchase and download.|
"Ophiuchus" is one of four articles included in Celestial Portraits Package 5.
As the cool spring air gives way to summer's warm, balmy evenings, night skies provide great rewards for observers. The giant constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent-Bearer dominates the southern sky, providing dazzling views of globular clusters. No other constellation is so devoid of other objects, due to a halo of globular clusters that circles the galactic center, which lies just beyond the constellation's southeast border. Home to 25 of the 147 known globular clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy, only Sagittarius, with 31, contains more.
Ophiuchus is roughly houseshaped, with 2nd-magnitude Rasalhague gleaming at the tip of the roof. Just southeast, a finger of the Milky Way sometimes referred to as "The Offramp" dies at a V-shaped asterism called the "Bull of Poniatowski." This small group of 4th-magnitude stars proves useful in locating several telescopic targets. But the southern reaches of Ophiuchus hold the most interest for the majority of stargazers, where the Milky Way's band is at its widest and most detailed. A dark cloud of intervening material appropriately named the Pipe Nebula stands out as viewed from dark sites. On the best nights, this feature creates the hind legs of the larger "Dark Horse" Nebula. To read the complete article, purchase and download Celestial Portraits Package 5.
|Deep-sky objects in Ophiuchus|
M107 (NGC 6171), M12 (NGC 6218), M10 (NGC 6254), M62 (NGC 6266), M19 (NGC 6273), NGC 6293, NGC 6369, B72 (Snake Nebula), M9 (NGC 6333), NGC 6356, NGC 6309 (Little Ghost), M14 (NGC 6402), NGC 6366, IC 1257, IC 4665, Barnard's Star, 70 Oph, NGC 6572, NGC 6633