Andrew McCarthy

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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 final timelapse, and each full image in the animation includes between 30,000 and 200,000 image files. A print edition is also available on his website and highlights different features through each phase as the celestial body waxes and wanes.

 

 



Photography

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

January 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Andrew McCarthy, shared with permission

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, 2021, and is making its closest pass to the sun exactly one year later, before it’s expelled from our solar system entirely.

McCarthy details his 12-minute process for documenting the body on PetaPixel—watch this clip to see how far the comet moved during that period—and explore his wide range of astrophotography on Instagram and his site, where he also sells prints.

 

 

 



Photography

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

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Andrew McCarthy, shared with permission

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 stem from areas of heightened magnetic activity, pushing and pulling on the solar surface and creating fascinating patterns in the atmosphere.”

Prints and full-resolution files of the extraordinarily detailed shot are available on McCarthy’s site and Patreon, and you can explore more of his astrophotography on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

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

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Andrew McCarthy, shared with permission

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, transiting a razor-thin crescent moon,” he writes on Instagram. McCarthy’s endeavor is particularly impressive because when standing on Earth, the ISS passes both celestial bodies in less than a second.

Prints of McCarthy’s stunning photographs are available from Image Kind. He also offers digital wallpapers and updates on his latest projects and celestial happenings on Patreon. (via PetaPixel)