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Astrophotographer Snaps a High-Resolution Moon Image With 6000 Photographs
 /  Last Modified: May 7, 2020

Amateur astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy has a fascination and natural curiosity for the celestial bodies. The cosmos is already a vastly fascinating thing. It’s completely understandable how the astrophotography hobby and sometimes profession attracts and intrigues many.

The self-proclaimed “space nerd”, as he likes to call himself, has this hobby, and it was most likely nurtured and supported by his father’s introduction to the Moon via telescope. Andy had found a telescope on Craiglist, for free, and this resulted in hundreds of thousands of space photographs.

Mcarthy posted a high-resolution photograph of the Moon. He says that it’s “the most color detail [he’s] ever done.” You can see the craters and details if you zoom in close enough. The quality of the photo is brilliant.

Last night’s moon with the most color detail I’ve ever done. If you zoom in you can see how different craters expose different minerals from interestingasfuck

Here is another version before the main one. Simply astounding what you can do with a camera and telescope.

How Did Andy Take the Photograph?

The method he used for taking the fantastic photo Andrew explains via Reddit: “This was taken last night, and is a blend of around 6,000 individual 16 Megapixel images. This gave me crystal clear color resolution, which I then enhanced to show the subtle variations in mineral content on the moon. The blue areas are titanium-rich, while orange is predominantly Feldspar and Iron.”

McCarthy used a 1400mm telescope zoom, with a special astrophotography camera, and you can see a video of him explaining the tools he used in the video below. This can be very inspiring for amateurs starting out and dipping their toes in astrophotography.

What’s most impressive is that Andrew simply used a Sony A7 II, a ZWO ASI 224MC CCD camera, an Orion XT10 telescope, and a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro, which are relatively cheap and common items, in contrast to the high-tech equipment professionals use to capture photos of similar quality. Andrew takes breathtaking astrophotography snaps from his backyard in Sacramento, California.

There are more brilliant photos like the one from the Moon and you can check his Instagram. Here are some that we find extra fascinating.

The Rose Nebula:

This one is the Eagle Nebula. You can see the difference between his former photos and the new ones.

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The Pillars of Creation, nestled here within the Eagle Nebula, is one of the most iconic and inspiring objects in deep space. While the Hubble Telescope made these structures famous, they are remarkably easy to find during the summer for the casual astronomer, as a prominent naked-eye nebula in the core of the milky way, and the pillars become visible with a low power scope. Since it is pouring rain right now, I dug back into my old shots from 6 months ago to see what I could reprocess for you. To see the comparison, swipe to the last image. Do you prefer the new one or the old one? #astrophotography #meadeinstruments #opteam #optcorp #astrophoto #astronomy #deepspace #deepsky #space #spaceporn #nasa #apod #natgeospace #natgeo

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Here’s Andromeda:

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Behold, the most distant object humans can see with their naked eye! The Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, which is just crazy when compared to local distances, but not so much on a cosmic scale. It is home to a trillion stars, so it's bright core can be seen as a faint smudge with the unaided eye from dark skies. Look up how to star hop from Cassiopeia and you'll find it! This picture was taken from my light-polluted backyard using around 4 hours of exposures. It's the same exact data set from my previous post, but was processed from the ground up in an entirely new way, giving better color, contrast, and details than the previous shot. This was taken using a @meadeinstruments Quadruplet refractor. For more info about my equipment check out the video I link out in my bio. The tilt shifted version is for sale, check my main gallery, and there is a digital download available for the first image. . . . . #astrophotography #astrophoto #space #astronomy #astronomyfacts #spaceporn #spacelovers #meadeinstruments #opteam #optcorp #starrynight #nightphotography #galaxy #andromeda #andromedagalaxy #sacramentophotographer #deepsky #deepspace #spacefacts #

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He took this astrophotography shot from the highly light-polluted city of Sacramento with only 4 hours of exposure. Let that sink in.

Here’s the Moon:

Andrew emphasizes on the beauty of the vast emptiness of space and how any point might hide a beautiful photo snap, “Every pocket of the night sky has virtually endless complexity and beauty, even the parts that appear empty. The moon is simply a closer example of the beauty that exists everywhere in the universe, and we are lucky to have it.”

“The way it hangs there in space is a constant reminder of the powerful physics at play that maintain our very existence. It is quite humbling.”

Galaxy m106:

This spiral galaxy is 22 million light-years away, and the only way to capture it is by pointing the telescope to the same part of the sky for 13 hours for more than a couple of nights. Andrew used 5 different cam filters to capture the details and colors. Absolutely stunning astrophotography.

The Sun:

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While we all practice our social distancing and figuring out who to blame for this mess we're all in, the cosmos are unchanged. Our sun simply carries on, the way massive fusion reactions tend to do. Here's a close look at one of the layers in the sun's atmosphere, the Chromosphere. This is where massive jets of plasma called spicula dominate the surface, caught in a neverending dance against the ever-changing magnetic structure. Massive amounts of solar material get caught in loops and pulled away from the surface, revealing filaments and prominences that could swallow our whole planet. Our problems are huge to us, but something about how utterly unaffected the universe is by our day-to-day struggles is calming. It'll all work out in the end. Stay positive and stay safe people. If you would like a quarantine activity later I will be releasing one of my deep space data sets for free to everyone, so you can try your hand at processing it.

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A closer look at the sun’s surface – the Chromosphere, where jets of hot plasma ravage the chaotic magnet structure.

We would like to share McCarthy’s message to you. He talks about the need for togetherness in trying times: “While we all practice our social distancing and figuring out who to blame for this mess we’re all in, the cosmos are unchanged. Our sun simply carries on, the way massive fusion reactions tend to do.

Massive amounts of solar material get caught in loops and pulled away from the surface, revealing filaments and prominences that could swallow our whole planet. Our problems are huge to us, but something about how utterly unaffected the universe is by our day-to-day struggles is calming. It’ll all work out in the end. Stay positive and stay safe people.

If you would like a quarantine activity later I will be releasing one of my deep space data sets for free to everyone, so you can try your hand at processing it.”

You can find his prints at his online store. Help out an upcoming astrophotography artist and scientist and make your home beautiful by grabbing one of his prints and adorning them on your walls.

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