Elephant’s Trunk Nebula

Photographer and CIERA graduate student Imran Sultan captured the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (IC 1396) over two nights (July 9-10, 2023) from the bright skies of the Chicago suburbs. Observing the Elephant’s Trunk reveals emission from the ionized gas in the star-forming region, shown here in the HOO color palette. Sultan was able to overcome light pollution by using a special filter that only allows specific wavelengths of light to pass through (specifically, the wavelengths corresponding to H-alpha and O-iii emission, which are commonly emitted by the gas in emission nebulae.) The total integration time is about 6.5 hours of narrowband data and 10 minutes of full-color data for stars. Sultan, who practices astrophotography in his free time, is a graduate student in CIERA Professor Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere’s group. In 2023, Sultan’s photo of the Western Veil Nebula and the Flower Moon won first place and runner-up respectively in the astronomy category of the Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition.

Credit: Imran Sultan/Northwestern/CIERA

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