A composite image of a waxing gibbous moon

All images © Andrew McCarthy, shared with permission

For his latest celestial undertaking, Arizona-based astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy turned his lens toward the moon, documenting the Earth’s satellite in astounding detail. As he’s wont to do, McCarthy stitched together a staggering number of images to create a composite so large that it reveals the craggy, pocked surface in extraordinary detail.

“GigaMoon” is, as its name suggests, a 1.3-gigapixel image comprised of 280,000 individual photos captured on two telescopes, one for detail and one for color. Taken on the unusually clear night of April 29 during its waxing gibbous phase, the work reveals a surface rich with history. “Zoom in and see the irregular shapes of sinuous lava tubes, the catastrophic scars from impact craters, monstrous canyons, and towering mountains,” McCarthy says, alluding to the interactive version that allows viewers to magnify different areas. The photographer’s largest image to date, “GigaMoon” offers a rare glimpse into the nighttime orb and the current state of its form after eons in existence.

There are currently a few prints of the work available in his shop, and PetaPixel has all the details on McCarthy’s equipment and process. You can follow his adventures in astronomy on Instagram.


detail of the pocked surface of the moon

detail of the pocked surface of the moon

detail of the pocked surface of the moon

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