The California-based astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy managed to capture the world’s clearest picture on the Moon’s craters.
McCarty devotedly took thousands of pictures and then stacked them over lunar phases to capture our only natural satellite in its full glory.
The spectacular final result of this painstaking process reveals hundreds of craters, dents, and dimples on the surface of our closest celestial neighbor, the Moon.
He shared a post on his Instagram @cosmic_background account explaining the project he had been working on: “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.” He also added: “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.”
To make it more clear, the lunar terminator is the division between the illuminated and dark hemispheres of the Moon. It is the lunar equivalent of the division between night and day on the Earth spheroid, although the Moon’s much lower rate of rotation means it takes longer for it to pass across the surface.
The sun is closer to the horizon in the terminator, creating long shadows that give a three-dimensional appearance to the Moon’s surface. These shadows make the lunar surface much clearer and its features like craters more visible.
Let’s show some love for his hard work. Maybe great feedback will inspire this talented astrophotography to give us another breathtaking image of our only natural satellite.