The photographer captures the magical moment when Mars emerges from behind the Moon

The photographer captures the magical moment when Mars emerges from behind the Moon

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy captured Mars rising behind the full Moon that temporarily eclipsed the red planet in the night sky Wednesday.

McCarthy says PetaPixel who had been monitoring the rare celestial event throughout 2022 in order to get fantastic images of Mars looking behind the Moon.

“I had to start learning more about planetary photography, so I spent the summer shooting planets every night to learn all the best tricks,” he says.

“I also needed a better telescope than what I had, so I found one in Los Angeles and picked it up a few weeks ago.”

Apart from a new telescope, McCarthy also needed a new camera.

“The reason for this is that the moon is moving so fast relative to Mars that I only have a short window to capture it in a specific location, so the traditional time frames for capture no longer apply “, explain.

“I actually had to limit my capture to just 10 seconds or the motion of Mars would blur the image. None of my equipment could do it in a way that produced the kind of results I wanted.”


Known as a lunar eclipse, Wednesday’s celestial event was particularly remarkable because Earth was directly between Mars and the Sun, known as opposition, making the Red Planet appear especially bright in the night sky.

“This event happened while Mars was relatively low on the horizon, meaning it would be seeing through more of the atmosphere,” adds McCarthy.

“To help combat local land currents that ‘smudge’ the image, I set up my telescope next to my swimming pool (there is a photo on my Twitter if you want to see) that it stabilized the air by aiming at it.”

McCarthy was operating four telescopes as backup in case something went wrong, but the main one was a 14-inch Dobsonian that tracked the point on the Moon from where Mars would appear.

“The final image is a mosaic, as the field of view was quite small [see above video]. After the event, I rotated my telescope to fill in the areas of the moon that I wanted to include in the final photo.”

More of McCarthy’s work can be found at his Instagram, Twitteri web site.

Image credits: All photos by Andrew McCarthy.

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