Two astrophotographers have recently revealed an intricately detailed picture of the Moon after working on the project for two years. The image was created by stitching together more than 2,00,000 photos of the Moon over a two-year period. Most commonly, the Moon is seen as a large grey celestial body in the night sky. The new image features a rare sight of our lunar neighbour in stunning colours. The people behind the image are astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy and planetary scientist Connor Matherne, who worked in collaboration on the project, according to NPR.
The duo, who connected over social media, used to share and praise each other’s work before teaming up. “When he and I put our heads together we were able to make something a little off brand for both of us, which is cool. The whole thing is assembled like a mosaic, and each tile is made up of thousands of photos,” McCarthy told NPR.
Two years ago, I teamed up with fellow astrophotographer and planetary scientist @MatherneConnor to capture the most ridiculously detailed moon image we could. Over the last few months we put our heads together again to come up with something even clearer. Behold: pic.twitter.com/SebeDRJx2h
— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy) August 20, 2022
While McCarthy is skilled at taking detailed pictures and capturing the geological feature of the Lunar surface, Matherne specialises in colours and taking deep space photos.
In a single evening, McCarthy shot more than 2,00,000 detailed pictures of the Moon from Arizona, in the US. Meanwhile, Matherne clicked 500 images from Louisiana to gather the colour data.
Following this, the duo spent nine months working together on the edits to produce the best possible image of the Moon. “Andrew aimed purely for the detail side whereas I aimed purely for the colour side. That allowed us to get the full moon,” said Matherne.
The 174-megapixel image shows the moon in shades of red and gunmetal blue with one side illuminated where it faces the Earth. McCarthy explained in a tweet, that the red regions are, “Iron and feldspar, oxidization caused by errant oxygen atoms from Earth.”
According to the astrophotographers, while their work is quite technical, all one needs to pull off such a task is a camera, tripod, and a star tracker. However, McCarthy said that patience posed a challenge in such projects.