Amazing “GigaMoon” Made of 280,000 Photos Captures Detailed Surface of the Moon

Gigamoon by Andrew McCarthy

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy is always looking to further his craft and wow us with his capabilities. Known for creating highly detailed images of the cosmos, his newest photograph is a masterful look at the Moon. Made from 280,000 photos, the 1.3 gigapixel image is aptly titled GigaMoon.

It's a photograph that McCarthy has been chasing for quite some time. Previous attempts had gone awry due to the weather conditions and McCarthy says that his hard drive is filled with images taken during failed attempts. Luckily, on April 29, everything aligned, and he was able to complete his vision.

Photographing the Moon in this much detail is arduous because of the atmospheric conditions. Changes in temperates in the different layers of the atmosphere can cause warping and make the Moon appear blurry. Even in the best conditions, McCarthy likens it to “capturing through water with how much the atmosphere distorts each image.”

To cut down on that distortion, he takes 2,000 photographs at a time and slowly makes his way across the entire Moon until he's imaged the entire thing. In the case of GigaMoon, he actually photographed the Moon twice in order to ensure that every part of the celestial body was captured perfectly.

Since his initial images were taken in black and white, McCarthy then went back to capture all the color data he'd need to add to the finished product. He did this using a Newtonian telescope equipped with a full-frame CMOS camera. After all was said and done, it was then time for post-production.

This entails stacking the images and then stitching them together by hand in Photoshop. After several days of tweaking the alignment and coloration, GigaMoon was ready to be revealed. To really get into the rich detail, McCarthy has a landing page where anyone can zoom in and explore. He's also selling fine art prints of GigaMoon on his website, and has the full-image download available for his Patreon supporters.

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy used 280,000 individual images to create a highly detailed photo of the Moon.

Detail of Gigamoon by Andrew McCarthy

Detail of Gigamoon by Andrew McCarthy

Detail of Gigamoon by Andrew McCarthy

Andrew McCarthy: Website | Instagram | Patreon | TikTok | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Andrew McCarthy.

Related Articles:

Photographer Uses 2 Million Photos to Produce GIF Showing Moon’s Movement

Astrophotographer Captures Stunning Composite Photo of 2022’s Last Lunar Eclipse

Astrophotographer Takes 600,000 Photos To Offer an Amazingly Clear View of Jupiter

Two Astrophotographers Join Forces to Create Enormous 140-Megapixel Photo of the Sun

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.

Sponsored Content