The moon has always fascinated the man. This mysterious gigantic rock orbiting the Earth has had an eternal presence in all facets of human culture for thousands of years.
The moon is a perfect example of the delicate balance found everywhere in nature. One photographer has recently created the clearest picture of its craters by combining numerous shots of the lunar line where light meets dark.
To reveal the surface of the moon in detail, lunar enthusiast Andrew McCarthy stacked thousands of pictures together over lunar phases. Californian-based astrophotographer took two weeks’ worth of frames of the waxing moon, since the part of the illuminated surface seen from Earth increases.
To get clarity and contrast, he took the photos at the ‘lunar terminator’ – the line between the light and dark sides of the moon, every night for two weeks.
He then combined the series of high-contrast, high-definition photos of every crater on the moon’s Earth-facing side into a spectacular composite, showing countless craters, dimples and imperfections on it.
Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy stacked thousands of pictures of the moon together over moon phases to make the clearest photo of its surface ever
This is a detailed composite picture of the moon made up of thousands of pictures taken at different moon phases.
Therefore, the composite can’t be considered a true photograph of the moon, but it is definitely one of the clearest views of its surface.
Mr. McCarthy posted it on Instagram account,@cosmic_background, with the title ‘All Terminator’, and described it as a ‘beast of a project’.
“This moon might look a little funny to you, and that’s because it is an impossible scene.
From two weeks of images of the waxing moon, I took the section of the picture that has the most contrast (right before the lunar terminator where shadows are the longest), aligned, and blended them to show the rich texture across the entire surface.
This was exhausting to say the least, namely because the moon doesn’t line up day over day, so each image had to be mapped to a 3D sphere and adjusted to make sure each image aligned.”
Californian-based Mr. McCarthy posted the photo to Instagram, titled All Terminator, and added that it is an ‘impossible scene’
He took the original shots using an ASI1600MM and the Celestron edgeHD 800, and “depending on feedback”, he might repeat it for the waning phases.
A composite picture of the moon made up of thousands of pictures.
The lunar terminator or ‘twilight zone’ is the line between the moon’s light and the dark side. In the terminator, the sun is closer to the horizon, so it creates long shadows which give the surface a three-dimensional appearance and make its surface and crates more noticeable and clearer
McCarthy took the original snaps using an ASI1600MM and an edgeHD 800 (pictured)
NASA explains that there are multiple craters appear close to the terminator since their height makes them easier to discern there.
Unlike these well-defined terminators, the Earth has diffused and fuzzy ones, leading to dawn and dusk.
McCarthy told his followers that ‘this moon might look a little funny to you’
McCarthy explains that his interest in space/photography began” when I was a kid looking through my dad’s telescope, but I never got into it as an adult until recently.”
“We see the Earth every day and take it for granted. My goal is to never take the beauty of our sky for granted, and teach others to appreciate it as well by showing it to them in a new way! It really drives me, and the impact it has on people is extremely gratifying.”
His followers were thrilled to see his composition!