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Photography

A Massive Composite of 150,000 Images Reveals the Swirling, Feather-Like Details of the Sun

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

From dark spots and wispy flares to coronal loops that burst upward in brilliant arches, a giant new composite by Andrew McCarthy (previously) exposes the intricate, swirling patterns that cloak the sun's surface. "Fire and Fusion" is a 300-megapixel image captured at 2 p.m. on November 29 and the Arizona-based photographer's most detailed shot of the celestial matter yet. "Our star is a chaotic ball of plasma. Planet-sized streams of plasma snake up from the surface, dwarfed by looming prominences and filaments," he says. "Blinding bursts of energy…

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Photography

A Stunning Photo Documents the Colorful Comet Leonard Streaking Through the Nighttime Sky

January 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

Set against a star-studded backdrop, Comet Leonard, aka the Chrismas Comet, blazed overhead on December 26, emitting a colorful stream of light that illuminated the dark skies. Andrew McCarthy (previously) documented the celestial body as it hurtled over the Arizona horizon and created this striking, magnified composite of 25 separate shots. The image, along with a wider photo shown below, captures the brilliant colors surrounding the nucleus as it flies 150,000 miles per hour through space. Comet Leonard was first spotted about 466 million miles away on January 3,…

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Photography

Stunning Photographs Capture the International Space Station Traveling Across the Sun and Moon

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Back in October, Sacramento-based photographer Andrew McCarthy staked out in his backyard to document the International Space Station on one of its trips across the sun. Using two scopes, he successfully captured the image, which frames the station in the upper left corner of the fiery mass. Two weeks later, he repeated that process: "Yesterday morning after spending hours scouting for the right location, I set up my gear on the side of a road hoping to capture something I've never seen before. The ISS, illuminated by daylight,…

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Photography

A Rare Glimpse of Comet Leonard’s Last Moments Wins the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

The brilliant Comet Leonard put on a mesmerizing performance late last year when it streaked across the sky on Christmas Day. Expelled from the solar system shortly after, the celestial matter captivated photographers around the world during its brief stint of visibility, including Gerald Rhemann who captured the illuminated body as its gas tail disconnected from its nucleus and was swept away by solar wind. The incredibly rare and brief…

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Photography Science

The Moon Sways Through Its Phases in an Incredible Timelapse Made from Over 2 Million Images

April 1, 2022

Kate Mothes

In lunar astronomy, a phenomenon known as libration is the perception that the moon is wavering or swaying in the sky when viewed from Earth. Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy (previously) wanted to record this fascinating occurrence in high resolution to emphasize the changes in light and contrast across the vast and cratered lunar surface. For nearly a month, he traveled around the state of Arizona in search of clear skies, dodging bad weather and a dust storm to capture clear images of the moon as it reached its zenith every night. In total, more than two million individual photographs comprise the…

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Photography

50,000 Photographs Combine to Form a Detailed Image of the Moon and Stars

February 23, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Photographer Andrew McCarthy has transformed 50,000 individual images of the night sky into one very large and detailed photo of the moon. Every crater and lunar mare on the "light" side looks like it was shot from within the natural satellite's orbit, when the image was actually created from a telescope and two camera setup 239,000 miles away in Sacramento, California. McCarthy shares that his interest in the cosmos began as a kid when his father showed him the planets through his telescope, but it was a free telescope from Craigslist a few years ago that reignited his love and got…

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