A detailed image of the moon assembled like a mosaic with hundreds of thousands of photographs is attracting attention on the Internet. And no, it wasn’t taken by NASA or the James Webb Telescope.
Two years ago, Andrew McCarthy and Connor Matherne teamed up to create “the most ridiculous moon shot we could have created,” McCarthy shared on Reddit. The finished product went live on Saturday and received more than 100,000 upvotes and thousands of comments on Reddit.
McCarthy specializes in detailed photographs and geographic features captured on the surface of the moon in Arizona, while Matherne specializes in color.
The impressive image which is making the rounds on social media was made from 250,000 images – 200,000 black and white photos of McCarthy and 50,000 color photos of Matherne – taken during a night last November, Matherne told USA TODAY. It took months of editing to get the final image.
Although the moon appears to be a white and gray speck to our eyes, scientific observation devices capture subtle changes in color. These colors provide insight into mineralogical differences on the lunar surface, Matherne said.
“While anyone can go out and see the moon like our eyes do, seeing what lies beyond the limits of our eyes is one of the benefits of such high quality images,” Matherne said. .
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Areas with red tones are rich in iron and feldspar and areas with blue areas are rich in titanium, McCarthy said.
These images can be made by using software to analyze, stack and refine the thousands of images to get the clearest version, McCarthy’s website says. All you need is a camera, a tripod, a star tracker and a telescope to take astrophotographs.
Camille Fine is a Trending Visual Producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.