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Stunning, ‘clearest-ever’ photo of the moon took weeks to create

In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before a joint session of Congress and called for an ambitious space exploration program. More specifically, he set a goal for U.S. astronauts to reach the moon.

Just eight years later on July 20, 1969, it was mission accomplished as Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. Tap or click here for details on the computer software that made the mission possible.

It’s been more than 50 years since that historic Apollo 11 mission and we’ve seen numerous up-close photos of the moon since. But nothing like this!

See the moon like never before

You may think if you’ve seen the moon once you’ve seen it a million times. Because it never appears to change positions, right!?

That’s because it takes the moon around 27 days to rotate on its axis, which makes it seem to be perfectly still to observers on Earth. But it’s not. Now, a California man has put a painstakingly amount of effort into creating the world’s clearest image of the moon’s craters.

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy is the genius behind this masterpiece, which took two weeks to create. So, how did he do it?

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McCarthy snapped pictures of the moon over a two week period to capture the different lunar phases. He then stacked thousands of photos together to create a spectacular image. Here is the result:

Andrew McCarthy/SWNS.com

Here’s McCarthy describing the process: “This moon might look a little funny to you, and that’s because it is an impossible scene. From two weeks of images of the waxing moon, I took the section of the picture that has the most contrast (right before the lunar terminator where shadows are the longest), aligned and blended them to show the rich texture across the entire surface.

“This was exhausting to say the least, namely because the moon doesn’t line up day over day, so each image had to be mapped to a 3D sphere and adjusted to make sure each image aligned.”

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McCarthy calls the photo “All Terminator.” He went on to say that if he gets good feedback from this image he may try something like this again. If you want to see more of his work check out his Instagram as he posts tons of spectacular photos. You can see them here.

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