A California-based astrophotographer has taken the world’s clearest pictures of the moon and its craters by combining multiple shots.
Andrew McCarthy spent two weeks taking thousands of pictures of the lunar surface and compiled them all together to show what are now the clearest pictures of the moon.
In a time-consuming process, McCarthy composited the collection of shots together where the effect was most pronounced and using an array of light and dark images, managed to create a final product that leaves viewers in awe. The shadows made the moon’s surface clearer allowing craters and other surfaces to be shown more clearly.
He posted the clearest moon pictures ever taken to his Instagram, @cosmic_background, describing the endeavor as “a beast of a project”. Continuing; “This moon might look a little funny to you, and that’s because it is an impossible scene,” he said on his account, “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.”
The incredible images that are shown throughout this article were taken with a ASI1600MM and the Celestron edgeHD 800. McCarthy described the pictures, titled ‘All Terminator’, as an “impossible scene”.
According to NASA, many of the craters appear near ‘the terminator’ because their height makes them easier to discern there. This is similar to the line of light and dark on Earth, making shadows lengthen when the sun is low in the sky.
The sunlight bounces off of each microscopic molecule of gas on the way to earth, getting scattered in the process. It’s this scattering that allows us to see some of that light before to sunrise and after sunset each day. The Moon has no atmosphere, so the sunlight reaches its surface unhindered.