Photographer Uses 150K Moon Photos to Reveal Its Hidden Colors

Sacramento-based astrophotography enthusiast Andrew McCarthy extracted color data from 150,000 photos of the moon to create this enhanced photo showing all the different splashes of color on the surface left by impacts of different minerals. McCarthy created this photo while shooting his ultra-high-resolution 81-megapixel supermoon photo that combined 50,000 shots.

“The color was already in that picture, hidden behind the glare of the moon’s albedo, and represents the mineral content of our moon,” McCarthy writes. “While my previous images showed you the detail you could see if your eyes were sharper, this one shows you what the moon could look like if our eyes and brain were much more sensitive to color. The blues denote high titanium content, and oranges represent low titanium content in the basalt.”

McCarthy shot all the images with the Orion XT10 telescope, a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro computerized equatorial mount, a ZWO ASI224MC color astronomy camera, and the Sony a7 II full-frame mirrorless camera.