Rho Ophiuchi Rising over Mt. Gumbok Rangan

October 10, 2023


Gombo_Rho v6 copy

Photographer: Soumya Banerjee      
Summary Author: Soumya Banerjee

Shown above is the interstellar cloud complex Rho Ophiuchi rising over Mt. Gumbok Rangan (God’s Mountain), which is considered sacred in the region of Zanskar, India. At an estimated distance of about 460 light years, in the direction of Scorpius, Rho Ophiuchi is one of the closest star-forming regions to our Solar System. Mt. Gumbok Rangan stands at an elevation of 5,520 m (18,110 ft) -- the base is about 4,500 m (14,800 ft).

I had been waiting patiently during the night of June 19, 2023, to get in just the right position to shoot Rho Ophiuchi in respect to the mountain. Although the temperature was below freezing, luckily there wasn’t much wind, and the atmosphere was clear enough to easily see the Milky Way. Overall, I enjoyed this experience, but it’s a shame that because of increasing light pollution we're unable to see these things without visiting a remote location.

Photo details: Canon 700D (self-astro modded) camera; Sigma 28mm f1.4 lens; Oregon Minitrack LX3 Art Tracker.

Post-processing details: This image is a blend of a foreground shot during late blue hour and a sky shot during night (at 12:45 a.m. local time) from the same location and position when Rho Ophiuchi came into the correct alignment with the mountain.

Sky frame is a stack of 33 light frames(tracked) and 6 dark frames stacked in ASTAP and processed (stretched) in SIRIL. Each frame is shot with Canon 700D (astro-mod) camera and sigma 28mm f1.4 lens @ f2.2, ISO1600, 30 secs each. The foreground mountain is shot at 28mm f5.6, ISO100, 2.5 secs from the same position and location. Both Sky and Foreground are then blended in Adobe Photoshop.


Zanskar, India Coordinates: 33.5626, 76.9878

Related Links:

Soumya’s Website

Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex