Western Veil Nebula photographed by Imran Sultan

The colorful Western Veil Nebula, photographed by graduate student and CIERA member Imran Sultan, is a stunning remnant left behind from the explosion of a massive star 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Located 2,100 light-years away, the nebula resides within the constellation Cygnus (the Swan). Sultan’s photo of the Western Veil Nebula won first place in the 2023 Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition’s astronomy category.

“My picture shows a part of the nebula known as the Western Veil, imaged over two nights from the city skies of the Chicago suburbs,” Sultan said. “I was able to overcome the extreme light pollution, a growing problem that is detrimental to stargazing and makes deep sky astrophotography nearly impossible, by using a special filter which only allows certain wavelengths of light to pass through.”

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.

Credit: Imran Sultan

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