Photographer created the clearest picture of the moon using the lunar terminator

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US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A terminator is a light dividing line that separates the illuminated part of the body from the unlit part. In the case of the Moon and any other spherical body, the terminator has the shape of a semi-ellipse, but it is especially interesting that long shadows are observed at this boundary, which give the surface a voluminous and clear appearance, making craters more noticeable.

California astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy wondered what would happen if you take pictures of the plots in front of the terminator in different phases of the growing moon and combine them into one image. McCarthy had to do painstaking work, combining thousands of different images of the earth’s satellite.

The result was an image of the Moon, which we had not seen before, with a dazzling array of craters, dimples, and potholes, bizarrely combined in one picture.

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Oops… All terminator! I haven't posted in a while, partly because I was under the weather, and partly because I was working on this BEAST of a project. This moon might look a little funny to you, and that's because it is an impossible scene. From 2 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. 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. I may or may not try this again for the waning phases depending on feedback. The full size for this, as well as a phone background, was shared with patrons. Check the link in my bio if you'd like to join and get access to more exclusive content!

A post shared by Andrew McCarthy (@cosmic_background) on

“This moon may seem a little funny to you. All because this is an unrealistic image. From the images of the two weeks of the growing moon, I took the areas with the highest contrast (right in front of the terminator, where the shadows are the longest), aligned and mixed them to show the rich texture of the entire surface,” McCarthy wrote on Instagram.

He added that the process was very tiring, since each image had to be matched with a three-dimensional sphere and adjusted so that each image was aligned.

McCarthy, who took original shots using the ASI1600MM and Celestron edgeHD 800, said he could repeat the process for the waning moon.


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