New ‘ridiculously detailed’ image of the Moon is a masterpiece of space photography

It’s time to update your wallpapers, folks.

Two astrophotographers just dropped off what they call “the most ridiculously detailed image” of the moon – the result of a meticulous effort of about two years and more than 200,000 frames in preparation.

For millennia, humans have looked up and seen the same silver orb streak across the night sky – but never quite like it. As space photography enthusiast Andrew McCarthy says of his collaboration with planetary scientist Connor Matherne, “see” this stunning image:

Detailed image of the Moon tinted with red and gunmetal blue, illuminated by light against the black background of space.
The moon captured by Andrew McCarthy and Connor Matherne.

While you feast on this 174-megapixel beauty, you can see the Moon tinged with bronze red and blue, illuminated on the right side as it faces Earth. The red spots are iron and feldspar oxidized by errant Earth oxygen atoms, McCarthy Explain to curious viewers on Twitter.

Although the colors may look fake, they are technically the true hues of the Moon, only that our eyes aren’t sensitive enough to see them, and so McCarthy gave the image a saturation boost to bring out the colors in all their glory.

McCarthy’s specialty is actually detailed photography, taking tens of thousands of photos to capture every nook, cranny and crater on the lunar surface. Matherne, a planetary scientist and deep space photographer from Louisiana, is the color enthusiast we also have to thank.

As for how it was made, the masterpiece consists of over 200,000 images, all taken in a single evening and stacked together.

“The whole thing is put together like a mosaic, and each tile is made up of thousands of photos,” McCarthy said. Told NPR, simplifying what must have been a lengthy editing process.

The pair certainly have outdid themselves and gave NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope a hard time.

But that’s another NASA mission – one that’s gearing up for bring humans back to the moon for the first time since 1972 – which inspired their artistic endeavor.

“This image is a love letter to the upcoming Artemis 1 mission, the first human-rated lunar launcher in 50 years,” McCarthy said. tweeted.

The first major stage of this mission, due to launch on August 29, is an uncrewed test flight of the Space Launch System, a super heavy rocket capable (hopefully) of launching astronauts across the moon.

Later Artemis missions plan to land astronauts near the Moon permanently shaded patches.

This isn’t the first time that McCarthy and Matherne, who first logged onto Reddit, have gifted us with jaw-dropping photos of the Moon and other celestial bodies in delicious candy colors.

Two years ago, the pair shared their first composite image of the Moon, which in retrospect seems quite inconspicuous compared to their latest reveal, but stunned viewers at the time.

And in 2019, McCarthy published this grayscale photograph of our Moon shrouded in light and float serenely in spacesomewhat reminiscent of the iconic Earthrise image photographed by astronaut Bill Anders aboard Apollo 8.

While that kind of photography is out of reach for us Earth people, the awe-inspiring photographs that McCarthy and Matherne produce using basic equipment – a camera, tripod and star tracker – are not.

However, as McCarthy told NPR, it takes a lot of patience to find the merchandise, and most nights he walks away empty-handed.

“Anyone can do it, but it takes a special temperament,” he said. said.

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