NEW ORLEANS — A pair of astrophotographers have just posted an incredible picture of the moon.
It’s like we’ve never seen before. The craters, the colors, the textures are all in spectacular detail.
“In general, with all of my space photos, what I love the most is just getting people excited about space because I am just head over heels for it,” Connor Matherne said.
The LSU and Fountainbleau High School graduate is part of the team that produced the 174-megapixel image.
Matherne set up a telescope and camera in his Mandeville backyard last November, to shoot the moon.
His partner, Andrew McCarthy captured pictures of the lunar surface from his home in Arizona the same night.
It took them nine months to painstakingly stitch together a combined 250,000 photos to come up with the amazing photo.
“There are very, very subtle color variations in the moon,” Matherne said. “A lot of the different mineralogy of the moon end up showing as orange, in this case it would by iron oxide and blue is titanium. So, you have areas that are more rich in iron oxide, areas that are more rich in titanium on the moon.”
The moon appears in shades of gray when viewed by the naked eye.
“I think seeing that the moon isn’t just a black and white blob out there floating around is cool, but also, I like to see the variations in the craters, personally. Mathern added.
He admits the moon is a little out of his comfort zone.
Matherne considers himself more of a deep space photographer, capturing images of faraway nebulas and galaxies.
"Just try it,” he said. “Go out with a camera and just prop it up on a rock even and take some long exposures. They’ve come back with some great pictures of even the Milky Way.”
Matherne first posted the moon shot on Saturday.
It’s now become an out-of-this-world sensation with more than 300 million views on social media.
“I think anything I get from my photo, that gets people more excited about space, even just going outside to look at the stars every once in a while, is just a victory in my book.”
Matherne and his partner called their photo a "collaborative tribute" to NASA's upcoming Artemis mission.
The New Orleans-made rocket is now set to blast off for the first time on Monday, August 29.