The Head of Scorpion

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Europe

Site: Tyrol - Austria

Date: March 2011

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In a starry night of Alps the head of constellation Scorpius, the Scorpion, rises above snow-covered mountains in the state of Tyrol, western Austria. The orange-red supergiant star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) is the brightest in the picture. The dark and colorful clouds in this region is known as Rho Ophiuchi Nebula; a spectacular cloud complex of gas and dust which is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System at distance of about 430 light years. Click on the star-pattern icon above the image to see a long-exposure close-up view of Rho Ophiuchi nebula. Note the globular cluster M4 near Antares. It includes over 100,000 stars and lies much further away in the galaxy.
Austria is one of the few European countries where itís still possible to see truly dark skies, thanks to high mountains and low population. The photographer was in a dark Alpine forest some 30 km south of Innsbruck. Babak Tafreshi/

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