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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Jaw-dropping Moon mosaic

By Phil Plait

It's funny what a difference a little resolution makes. For example, if you look at this photo of the Moon, you'd probably agree it's very well done and very pretty:

Nice, right? But I post lots of really great pictures here, and this one at first glance doesn't seem to distinguish itself.

Ah, but appearances can be deceiving: I had to lower the resolution way down to fit my blog. Way down. If you click to enlunenate it, you get a very, very different impression of it, since it's actually a ginormous 3890 x 4650 pixel monster mosaic! That's 18 megapixels of lunar goodness!

And it's gorgeous.

Its not a single shot, but a very nicely done and seamless mosaic of images taken by André vd Hoeven using a Celestron 28 cm (11") telescope. It was actually created using video: he pointed at one part of the Moon, took a 30 second movie at 60 frames per second, and then used software which picked the best of those frames and added them together to produce a single image. He then moved the telescope to a different part of the Moon and repeated the procedure over and over again, until he had 107 images in total! These were then processed to sharpen them up, and finally put together to create the mosaic. The detail is crisp and stunning; you really need to just load up the big image and scroll around it.

I'm amazed at the detail and richness of it. Craters, cliff walls, mountains, and rays pop right out, as well as subtle features difficult to see just looking through a telescope. All in all, as I'm sure you'll agree, it's truly an incredible shot. So I'm glad we got that resolved.

Image credit: André vd Hoeven, used by permission. Tip o' the dew shield to theritz.

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