Breathtaking high-resolution photo of the Moon leaves Reddit users crooning

The image was the latest in a large collection of amateur space photographs taken by MCarthy.

If you've tried looking for something on the moon's surface – be it the Chang'e-4 lander, the man on the moon or his footprints –  a new 81-megapixel image of it might be your best shot at finding them.

The new image was captured by a Californian stargazer and shared on Reddit, where it went viral and stayed at the top of r/space with 1,48,000 upvotes and 3,400 comments.

The photo comes days after NASA announced that it will never leave space unoccupied again and use the moon as their base and gateway to explore deep space.

"When we go to the moon (next time), we're going to stay," Jim Bridenstine, Chief of NASA said to media, according to Space.com. "So, we're not going back to the moon to leave flags and footprints and then not go back for another 50 years. We're going to go sustainably... to stay. With landers and robots and rovers — and humans."

Breathtaking high-resolution photo of the Moon leaves Reddit users crooning

The Moon like never before by amateur astronomer Andrew McCarthy. Image: Reddit.

Many space enthusiasts, including Andrew McCarthy – the photographer that snapped the stunning image – were delighted by the news. While others took to sharing their thoughts and comments, McCarthy shared his latest exploits in amateur astronomy with Redditers.

The image was captured using an Orion XT10 telescope, a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount and two cameras: a Sony A7II and a ZWO ASI224MC.

The bright half of the moon was processed separately – with 25 "tiles" that were stitched together using Photoshop, McCarthy told Forbes. Each one of these tiles was a "stack" created using the best 1,000 images taken with the ZWO camera. The stacks were then processed using Autostakkert and the photograph finished on Photoshop.

The image at 4 different magnifications. Image courtesy: Andrew McCarthy

The image at 4 different magnifications. Image courtesy: Andrew McCarthy

The whole project took a lot of "selective masking, histogram sketching, and contrast adjustments" so McCarthy could get just the right look, he told Forbes.

This is the latest addition to a large collection of photographs that McCarthy has taken of space. Among his other popular images are the Andromeda galaxy and the moon, the International Space Station, and the blood moon.

"What inspires me about space is the infinite possibilities. Each little pocket of the night sky has so much vast beauty it's incomprehensible," he said.

Considering the future of humanity could also go the way of colonizing Mars, perhaps we'll soon see McCarthy paint the Red Planet in pixels, too.

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