Andrew McCarthy, an astronomer, spent a month pursuing the Moon in order to make a gif that shows the wonder of its movement. He pulled together a magnificent look at how it “dances in the sky” using over 2 million separate photographs. The Moon’s slightly slanted axis and eccentric orbit around Earth cause this dance, which is known as libration.
McCarthy was inspired to make his own high-resolution gif of the moon libration and rotation at zenith after never seeing one before. For 26 days, he had to shoot the Moon as it passed over the zenith every 25 hours. He found himself moving throughout Arizona based on the weather prediction in order to have the finest view of the Moon. However, as we all know, the weather can be fickle. “It was supposed to be clear sky one night, but I was rained on.” “Another time, I was filming amid a dust storm,” he explains.
The difficulties didn’t end there. “I had to match sharpness, contrast, and noise levels from day to day, despite each image having dramatically different quality,” McCarthy says of postprocessing. Despite this, McCarthy persevered and created this one-of-a-kind glimpse of the Moon. It’s his largest effort of the year so far, and one that he hopes will inspire others to share his enthusiasm for the Moon.
“I felt the motion would convey a great tale about the Moon’s dynamic existence around Earth,” says the artist. I’m really enthusiastic about expressing my love for the Moon, because I feel that if everyone loved it as much as I do, humanity’s efforts to establish a man’s presence there would receive greater public support.”
In addition to the gif, McCarthy has shared a behind-the-scenes video on his Instagram and TikTok that shows the process of making the image. He’s also offering a limited edition poster that includes every frame of the lunacy, because to the massive amount of photographic material he shot.
Andrew McCarthy, an astronomer, demonstrates how he made a gif of the Moon’s libration.
Every frame he shot throughout his month following the Moon resulted in a stunning photograph.