50,000 Photos Created This Beautiful 81MP Composite of the Moon


Astrophotography allows us to see the beauty of space, and this amazing moon image is simply out of this world. Image used with permission from Andrew McCarthy. 

There have been some truly stunning captures of the moon that have been shared with us over the years. Whether they have been from astronauts in outer space, or astrophotographers from their backyards, the images always capture the imagination of many. Space and astrophotography lover, Andrew McCarthy recently set out to capture an insanely detailed picture of our moon, and the result of his work, and his patience is an image comprised of nearly 50,000 shots that has a resolution of 81 Megapixels. The capture is truly out of this world. Join us after the break to find out more about how he captured it.

Andrew McCarthy’s recent moon picture post has taken Reddit by storm; and for good reason. Andrew’s incredibly detailed capture of our moon has left thousands of Reddit viewers in absolute awe due to the amount of intricate details that can be seen on its surface, the likes of which are rarely seen outside of images from NASA, and other space organizations. At the time of posting, the thread has been liked over 157,000 times.

When you take into account that Andrew was able to achieve this composite image with the use of a Sony A7 II, a ZWO ASI 224MC CCD camera, an Orion XT10 telescope, a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro (a tracking mount for telescopes), and that he was located in his Sacramento, California backyard, it’s even more impressive.


The 81 Megapixel image above is made up of nearly 50,000 images that have been stacked and processed in Photoshop. The A7 II was used to capture the earthshine and the stars, while the ZWO ASI 224MC was used to capture the all of the detail in the moon itself. Andrew needed to capture almost 50,000 images so that he could average out blurring, and atmospheric turbulence. The other reason is so that noise could be eliminated as well. The moon was captured in “tiles” (one section at a time), and then the camera was re-positioned to capture another section. The moon is made up of 25 tiles in total, and each tile is comprised of the best 50% of 2000 images stacked together. I think we can all agree that the end image is truly staggering, and that backyard astrophotography has been taken to a whole new level.

If you would like to find out more about the process head on over to Reddit. If you would like to see more of Andrews work you can check him out on Instagram. His images are also available for purchase from his online store too.

All images used with permission.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.