Two Astrophotographers Team Up To Create Detailed Color Photo of the Moon

The Hunt for Artemis by Andrew McCarthy and Connor Matherne

Astrophotographers Andrew McCarthy and Connor Matherne recently teamed up to create a dazzling photo of the Moon from 250,000 individual images. Combining their skills, the 174 MB photo is a detailed look at the texture and color of Earth's only natural satellite.

The talented photographers connected on Reddit several years ago and bonded over their shared love for astrophotography. And recently, over the course of nine months, they worked tirelessly to bring the public a new view of the Moon. McCarthy, who specializes in detail, spent an evening taking 200,000 images of the Moon from Arizona. Matherne, who specializes in color, snapped an additional 50,000 from Louisiana.

They then worked together to build the photograph, which they've titled The Hunt for Artemis, like a mosaic. Each piece of the finished photo comprises thousands of stacked frames. McCarthy and Matherne worked together closely during the entire post-production process, sharing ideas and making creative decisions together. In doing so, they were able to capitalize on both of their specilizties.

“I think it is a great show of the various strengths we both have,” Matherne tells My Modern Met. “One thing we actually experimented with was different methods to capture the color and see which resulted in a better photo, so there are actually two different color photos we ended up with. One was definitely better than the other, though, so that is the one we ended up using and will continue to use in the future.”

McCarthy, who posted the photo on Reddit, shared a bit about the colors that we can see in the photo. “The color in this image is real but presented with increased saturation, so it is easily visible to our eyes. The reddish tones demonstrate areas rich in iron and feldspar, while the bluish areas are spots where the regolith is rich in titanium. Oxidization from influence from the Earth's atmosphere makes the colors appear like they do.”

Luckily, this is not an end to their collaboration. The talented astrophotographers have already been brainstorming ideas for a new collaboration. According to Matherne, “it all sounds like a good excuse for me to buy another telescope and camera and really push the limits of moon and solar photography with Andrew.”

Astrophotographers Connor Matherne and Andrew McCarthy combined their talents to photograph the Moon.

Side by Side Color and Black and White Photo of the Moon

Photo: Connor Matherne (left) / Andrew McCarthy (right)

See how they combined their individual frames to make this tribute to NASA's upcoming Artemis mission.

Color Comparison of the Moon

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

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

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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.
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