The image of the Moon combined from 280,000 extremely detailed images up to 1.3 gigapixels

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy used 280,000 photos that were stitched together to get this "GigaMoon," an extremely detailed image of the Moon in up to 1.3 gigapixels.

McCarthy used a 28 cm telescope with a 2.5x magnification system, yielding a final focal length of 7,000 mm, to photograph the Moon. When shooting at this focal length, the difference in temperature between the layers of the atmosphere can cause the Moon to look blurry and vibrating. Even shooting in good weather, the atmosphere distorts the image. So McCarthy took about 2,000 pictures at the same time as each part of the Moon. After photographing parts of the Moon in turn, the photographer captured the entire Moon.

To get the sharpest images of all the different regions, McCarthy performed the process of capturing the entire Moon twice. So he took a total of 140 times, 2,000 photos each time, equivalent to a total of 280,000 photos.

Since the equipment used for this procedure was monochromatic, McCarthy used a 3cm Newtonian telescope equipped with a full-frame CMOS camera to capture color images. And this photographer also gets high-quality color data to add to the final image.

A complex, computationally intensive task is to assemble all the images and color data into a final image. Finally, McCarthy used Photoshop to stitch together regions of the Moon. After a few days of assembling the image, the photographer again adjusted the contrast and color.

Because the image was so heavy, McCarthy had to cut the image into pieces for the computer to process. After 10-15 cuts, the computer crashed at least a dozen times, the GigaMoon photo is finally complete.

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