A 16-year-old boy from Pune, Maharashtra, has created one of the most beautiful and detailed three-dimensional images of the Moon by compositing 50,000 images. Prathamesh Jaju, who describes himself as an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, said the massive number of images (over 186GB data) he had to work with almost killed his laptop while processing. After all that he did, the image was almost 50 megapixels huge, which he has downscaled for mobile phone viewing. The compositing technique is often used in photography to combine images from various visual sources to create the illusion that all the elements are part of the same scene.
Jaju called it the “HDR last quarter mineral Moon”. The brown and bluish-grey tones of the Moon depicted the different mineral compositions on the lunar surface. The lunar craters are clearly visible in the extremely high-resolution image.
“I captured around 38 panels at 1,500 mm and 3,000 mm focal length with a 1.2 megapixel ZWO ASI120MC-S (astronomy camera), which made this image almost 50 megapixels huge,” Jaju said on Instagram. He also used a Celestron 5 Cassegrain Optical Tube Assembly (of the telescope where the optics are housed on a tripod).
Jaju has also posted the image on his Reddit account.
A number of users commented on the photograph, praising Jaju’s efforts to create the image.
“Such a smooth blend! Superb,” said Pooja Tolia, who describes herself as a stargazer and whose Instagram account is filled with images of the moon.
“Just found you from Reddit! Your photos are absolutely incredible!” wrote the person running the “birds.bees.trees.things” account, which has many beautiful photographs of birds.
The last quarter moon falls one week after the full moon. It appears half-lit by sunshine and half-immersed in its own shadow. From Earth, we see the moon half-lit. Also, called the third-quarter moon, it rises in the middle of the night, appears at its highest in the sky around dawn, and sets around midday.