ENTERTAINMENT

Breathtaking images show how strongly the moon "wobbles" in the night sky during each 27-day orbit


At first glance, you will be forgiven for mistaking this footage for a scene from the latest science fiction blockbuster.

But it's very real and shows in dramatic detail how much the moon "wobbles" in the sky during each 27-day orbit.

Lunar photographer Andrew McCarthy spent hundreds of hours over 22 consecutive nights taking thousands of photos of the moon as it grew and then declined through a near-complete orbit.

While the “wobble” known as libration is a well-known phenomenon, the incredible footage shows how much the moon's angle changes as it rotates.

WHY "WOBBLE" THE MOON?

While the moon always seems to have the same face for us, in fact it is not exactly the same face.

Due to the inclination and shape of its orbit, we see the moon from slightly different angles over the course of a month.

When a month is compressed to 40 seconds like in Andrew's video, it looks like it's wobbling because of our changing view of the moon.

This wobbling is called libration, from Libra the scale.

“The moon always has the same face for us, but not exactly the same face. Due to the inclination and shape of its orbit, we see the moon from slightly different angles over the course of a month, ”explains NASA.

“When a month is compressed to 24 seconds, our changed view of the moon looks like it is wobbling. This wobbling is called libration, from the scale the scale. & # 39;

Mr. McCarthy from California, USA, wanted for the first time to show the exact movement of the moon in the sky over the course of a lunar month.

He said he was shocked to see up close how much the moon's angle changes when it rotates.

His 40-second video clip, made up of thousands of images carefully aligned, appears to show the moon "wobbling" a little in its orbit, what McCarthy calls the "cosmic dance".

The shift also allows observers to view many of the lunar craters from different angles and in different lighting conditions.

McCarthy posted the video on his Instagram, writing, “Over the past month I've been working on my biggest project yet – an attempt to truly demonstrate the moon's distinctive spherical nature.

'By taking a high resolution image of the moon every night for 22 days, I captured the' libration 'which is the apparent wobbling of our moon.

& # 39; Included in an eternal cosmic dance, this little wobble is caused by the angle of the moon's elliptical orbit and the position of the observer.

“The moon itself doesn't really wobble, it just circles.

Due to the inclination and shape of its orbit, we see the moon from Earth from slightly different angles over the course of a month

When a month is compressed to 24 seconds like in Andrew's video, it looks like it is wobbling due to our changing view of the moon

When a month is compressed to 24 seconds like in Andrew's video, it looks like it is wobbling due to our changing view of the moon

“However, the side we see shifts a little because the orbit is angled and elliptical, so you can see a few other sides depending on where it is in the sky relative to the viewer.

"I've also enlarged some of my favorite features that really bring depth to life."

Andrew added that this was his most challenging project yet, saying, “I wanted to feel like I've ever gotten into astrophotography.

“The challenge is to have enough clear nights in a row to make it.

“On some nights when the conditions were ideal I could do it in 30 minutes, on other nights I would shoot for hours waiting for the conditions to improve.

“Calibration is a well-known phenomenon, but I didn't know how dramatic the difference would be.

Lunar photographer Andrew McCarthy spent hundreds of hours over 22 consecutive nights taking thousands of photos of the moon as it grew and then declined through a near-complete orbit

Lunar photographer Andrew McCarthy spent hundreds of hours over 22 consecutive nights taking thousands of photos of the moon as it grew and then declined through a near-complete orbit

Each final image that made it to Andrew's short video clip is a mosaic of hundreds of photos - to overcome any atmospheric "turbulence" that could distort an image

Each final image that made it to Andrew's short video clip is a mosaic of hundreds of photos – to overcome any atmospheric "turbulence" that could distort an image

& # 39; Many features, like the Clavius ​​Crater, completely change the angle when the moon rotates them away from the viewer.

"This really adds some depth to these features that I wasn't expecting."

Each final image that made it to Andrew's short video clip is a mosaic of hundreds of photos – to overcome any atmospheric "turbulence" that could distort an image.

Andrew said, “This project lasted hundreds of hours and involved millions of frames and terabytes of data.

Mr McCarthy said, "The work behind each image was already a lot. So it was a process of patience to manually align each image and create an animation that was smooth and showed the level of detail I wanted."

Mr McCarthy said, "The work behind each image was already a lot. So it was a process of patience to manually align each image and create an animation that was smooth and showed the level of detail I wanted."

While the "wobble" known as "libration" is a well-known phenomenon, the incredible footage shows how much the moon's angle changes as it rotates. The moon photographer photographs the moon every evening for a month

While the "wobble" is a well-known phenomenon, the incredible footage shows how much the moon's angle changes as it rotates

“There was already a lot of work behind each frame, so it was a process of patience to manually align each image and create an animation that was fluid and showed the level of detail I wanted.

“My favorite phases are generally on the waning side of the moon, which is also the most difficult to pinpoint.

"The strong contrast in the few complex prominent craters such as Aristarchus and Copernicus to the smooth Maria makes for a beautiful composition."

SCIENTISTS DO NOT AGREE TO HOW THE MOON WAS SHAPED BUT MANY BELIEVE IT WAS THE RESULT OF AN INFLUENCE BETWEEN EARTH AND ANOTHER PLANET

Many researchers believe the moon formed after the earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago.

This is known as the giant impact hypothesis.

The theory is that the moon is made up of debris left over from a collision between our planet and a body about 4.5 billion years ago.

The colliding body is sometimes called Theia, after the mythical Greek titan who was the mother of Selene, the goddess of the moon.

Many researchers believe the moon formed after the earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago. This is known as the giant impact hypothesis

Many researchers believe the moon formed after the earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago. This is known as the giant impact hypothesis

But one mystery remains, uncovered by rocks that the Apollo astronauts brought back from the moon: why are the moon and earth so similar in composition?

Various theories have emerged over the years to explain the similar fingerprints of the earth and moon.

Perhaps the impact created a huge cloud of debris that mixed thoroughly with the earth and later condensed into the moon.

Or Theia might have happened to have been chemically similar to Young Earth.

A third possibility is that the moon was formed from earthen materials rather than theia, although that would have been a very unusual type of impact.