Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy continues to wow us with his brilliant photos. He recently pulled together an incredible, high-resolution image of the moon from 50,000 photographs. While working on that project, he took the opportunity to also create a colorful version that shows off the moon’s geological makeup. Taking the color data from 150,000 moon photos, he’s come up with an artistic 64-megapixel color photograph of the moon.
This avant-garde image peels back the layers of the moon and reveals its hidden colors, standing in contrast to the more standard image he recently published. “The color was already in that picture, hidden behind the glare of the moon’s albedo, and represents the mineral content of our moon,” McCarthy writes. “While my previous images showed you the detail you could see if your eyes were sharper, this one shows you what the moon could look like if our eyes and brain were much more sensitive to color. The blues denote high titanium content, and oranges represent low titanium content in the basalt.”
A geological map of the moon shows just how rich with minerals the lunar environment really is. Through his stunning image, McCarthy makes it easy to visualize the chemical components present on the moon. The original image was created by using photos shot on two different cameras. While one captured the stars, color, and atmospheric haze, the other documented the surface details and texture of the moon.
In addition to the high resolution photograph, which McCarthy has made available for download as an 11 MB JPG and 23 MB PNG, he also created a charming animation. Here we see the moon slowly revealing its color for the world to see. Many of McCarthy’s moonscapes—including this one—are also available as prints via his online store.