Flower Moon above Chicago photographed by Imran Sultan

The May 2023 full moon, photographed by graduate student and CIERA member Imran Sultan. This image won runner-up in the 2023 Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition’s astronomy category.

“The May full moon is known as the Flower Moon, a name originating from the Algonquin peoples that marks the blooming of flowers during spring. This year’s Flower Moon fell on a cloudy night when I photographed it from the Chicago suburbs. My picture is an HDR composite of images at two different exposures. To capture the bright moon, I shot dozens of very short exposures and combined them together; I edited the stacked image to show the details of the lunar surface, and to reveal the faint colors associated with the mineral content of the moon that are invisible to the human eye. The photo of the cloudy sky is a single longer exposure. I shot the photos on May 4, 2023, from Des Plaines, Illinois.”

An astrophotographer, Sultan is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in galaxy formation at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, where he is advised by Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, an associate professor of physics and astronomy. Both Sultan and Faucher-Giguère are members of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics. Sultan began photographing the night sky in summer 2020 — after receiving his first telescope.

Read the full CIERA news story here.

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