Shark Nebula

This photo, captured by CIERA graduate student Imran Sultan, is a widefield shot of the interstellar gas and dust in the Cepheus constellation, prominently featuring the Shark Nebula. Interstellar gas is composed primarily of hydrogen, followed by helium with trace amounts of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. These clouds’ glowing nature is credited to the fluorescence it emits when close to hot stars. The picture represents nearly 2.5 hours of integration time, the duration over which a sensor collects and accumulates incoming light or signal, from some of the darkest skies in America. 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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