Space Art: 1.3-gigapixel Moon photo is created from 280 thousand photos

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy created GigaMoon, a 1.3-gigapixel highly detailed image of the Moon made from 280 thousand individual photographs. McCarthy spent a lot of time creating gigaphoto, and several times his work was almost disrupted due to bad weather conditions.

Detailed view of GigaMoon. Photo: Andrew McCarthy

“My hard drive is filled with dozens of failed attempts at GigaMoon. I watch the forecast for seeing conditions daily. This is a particular aspect of weather not visible in most forecasts, it requires a specific astronomy-oriented weather app (I use Astrospheric) to keep me abreast of the ever-changing conditions of the upper atmosphere,” he tells PetaPixel.

To photograph, McCarthy used an 11-inch telescope with 2.5-fold magnification and a full-frame CMOS camera, which eventually gave him a focal length of 7000 mm. But the difference in temperature between the layers of the atmosphere can cause the Moon to look blurry at this magnification.

A detailed view of GigaMoon, which shows some of the thousands of craters on the moon’s surface. Photo: Andrew McCarthy

“Even with good conditions, it’s almost like capturing through water with how much the atmosphere distorts each image. For that reason, I capture about 2,000 images at a time. Doing this on each section, then slewing my telescope and doing it again and again eventually covering the full moon is how these images are captured,” he explains.

Despite the relatively good conditions, many pictures were rejected, so McCarthy had to capture the entire Moon twice. In the end, he made an amazing 280 thousand images. Then there was a long process of assembling a full-fledged image and color editing. McCarthy even had to cut the image into pieces so that his computer could cope, there was no longer enough memory.

Detailed view of GigaMoon. Photo: Andrew McCarthy

McCarthy said that during the performance of GigaMoon, his computer failed at least a dozen times. To view the full 1.3-gigapixel image (32,613 x 40,766 pixels), follow this link.

Earlier we reported on how astrophotographers spent two years creating a 174-megapixel image of the Moon.

According to Cosmicbackground

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