Sacramento, California-based amateur astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy is a master of shooting amazing space photos from his own backyard, and he’s back again with this beautiful high-res photo of the moon created by combining 250,000 individual shots.
McCarthy uses a similar process for most of his work: he uses a $250 ZWO ASI224MC astro camera for the subject and a $900 Sony a7 II mirrorless camera for the starry background.
After capturing 250,000 frames and 1.5 terabytes of data with the ASI224MC, which can shoot ~150 images per second on a 1.2-megapixel, 1/3-inch Sony CMOS sensor, McCarthy uses various programs to process, stack, blend, and stitch the images together to create a 3GB PSB (Photoshop Big) file. That file was then flattened and downscaled to create this moon shot.
The glare of the moon is captured and incorporated as an HDR layer, and the stars are brightened using histogram stretching to make them stand out against the moon and its glare. McCarthy says his goal with his photos is to reproduce what his eye sees when looking through his telescope.