Messier 4 and Antares - A Cluster near Nebulosity

Updated: May 22, 2020

Messier 4 is a beautiful globular cluster located in Scorpius, very close to the bright orange star Antares. The unique aspect of photographing M4 wide field is that you can see all the nebulous gas lit up by Antares all around the bright star. This gas is part of the Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud complex in Ophiuchus/Scorpius.

We imaged this target for just a little over 1 hour as it was just rising above the mountains. We did not have any other target we wanted to photograph with the wide telescope while waiting for large nebulae to rise around 1AM. We usually never image objects that are below 25 degrees in altitude, but we had a "screw it" moment and decided to take the risk. Obviously, the quality of the final image is not really good and the gases really lack colors. The cluster does look fine though.

M4 is best photographed in Summer. Read our guide on the 15 best Astrophotography targets for Summer if you need some inspiration about what to image next!