Amateur Astronomer Takes Over 2 Million Photos to Show Moon Dancing

Andrew McCarthy claims he’s “just a normal guy with a telescope”, but he’s probably just being humble. The hugely successful social media astrophotographer spent an entire month snapping photos of the moon during its transiting zenith. He took over 2 million individual photos, which he stitched together into an incredible GIF showing the moon swaying as if dancing across the sky.

Not all nights were good for sightings. Sometimes it rained, other times his telescope was engulfed in a dust storm. But McCarthy persevered as he cycled through different observing positions across Arizona and was able to correct for variations in daily sightings using clever post-processing.

When stitched together, the different photos show the moon moving or flickering. This phenomenon called libration is caused by changes in the observer’s perspective due to the moon’s slightly tilted axis and elliptical orbit. Thanks to libration, we can see slightly different hemispheres of the lunar surface at different times. The beautiful composite image below shows the phase of the moon during each observing night.

Credit: Andrew McCarthy.

“I thought the movement would tell a very beautiful story of the dynamic presence of the Moon around the Earth. I am very passionate about spreading my love for the Moon, as I believe that humanity establishing the presence of a man there would get more public support if everyone loved him as much as I did,” McCarthy said. My modern met.

McCarthy has some other great content worth watching, including a video showing what the moon would look like with seas and atmosphere or the International Space Station crossing the moon.

@cosmic_background Should we terraform the moon? #astrophotography #space #cosmos #astronomy #science #telescope #cosmic #moon #lunar #apollo #artemis #terraform ♬ Shine On You Crazy Diamond – Dark Side of the Moon
@cosmic_background Have you ever seen the International Space Station? #ISS #astronomy #space #astrophotography #nasa #cosmos #moon #telescope ♬ No time to be careful – Hans Zimmer

Follow Andrew McCarthy on Instagram and TikTok.

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