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Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex

The Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex is a dark nebula of gas and dust that is located 1° south of the star Rho Ophiuchi in the constellation Ophiuchus, bordering Scorpius, rising above the plane of the Milky Way in the night sky. At an estimated distance of 131 ± 1 parsecs, this cloud is one of the closest star-forming regions to the Solar System. This picture is an infrared image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex in false color, captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. The emission nebula in the center glows bright white due to heating from nearby stars, while the red object in the bottom right is a reflection nebula caused by light from the star Sigma Scorpii being reflected off the surrounding dust. The bright pink objects just left of center are young stellar objects, many still enveloped in their own compact nebulae.

Photograph credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / WISE Team

See also