Oversaturated Full moon

Main Object: Moon

Colours of the Moon


If we ask someone about the color of the Moon, the answer would probably be that the Moon is gray. However, photographs of the Moon show that this is not exactly the case. With the dramatic increase in the color saturation of your photos, the impressive colors of our moon are coming out. With this method, different surface shapes and soil types are well separated.

To capture the colors of our celestial attendant in this way, a thorough planning is needed. The most appropriate period is when the Moon is perhaps the most uninteresting sight - in the vicinity of a full moon. Why aren't you interested in the biggest phase and everything in front of our eyes? The answer is more in aesthetic values. At full moon, the Sun shines at a higher angle to each crater, mountain range, and other moon shape, making it a much more subtle image, while at a lower angle and with a pronounced shadow, causing the three-dimensional experience. Watching the Moon in a telescope is always worthwhile when it shows an increasing or decreasing phase. In this case, the lack of shadows and the three-dimensional experience is helpful, as it faces our eyes as a map without distortions.

The photo was made on the 3rd of November 2017 from Tápióbicske in Pest County, when the Moon in the Constellation of Pisces dominated the sky with 97% illumination. My Nikon D3300 camera was fixed to the 150/750 mm Newton reflector. I also attached a 3x barlow lens between the telescope and the camera, giving me a 2250mm focus. Because of the narrow field of view, I divided the Moon into eight parts, each part recorded separately.

I had to make sure that the color and details of the Moon could not be captured in one picture due to atmospheric movements. I had to take two pictures (2x8 images): a photo with color layer and a photo with the sharp details. I had to expose the color layer in RAW format with 1/200 s exposure times. The advantage of RAW format is that it captures the image as data and contains all the perceived hues as data. However, we can only capture the details of the Moon sharply by making videos. I made eight videos with about 7500 frames each, using a software to select the sharpest frames and averaged them into a single image. I merged the Moon from my finished photos. The final and most exciting phase of the post-processing was to add the blurry but color image to the "gray" but sharp full moon image. The result is the published image containing both the colors and the details of the Moon. I achieved the colors by increasing the saturation of the color layered image in several steps.

Colors are likely to be determined by the composition of the soil or the grain size. It is assumed that the bluish areas are richer regions in titanium, where poorer titanium and iron are seen in orange tones. Slightly pinkish shades may indicate the presence of aluminum.






R.A. 01 h 25 m 17 s Dec. +03° 25′ 28″




365 569 km



Apparent size:

32' 40"


3 476 km




03/11/2017 20:45-21:15 UT


Tápióbicske, Pest, Hungary


Nikon D3300 (unmodified)


Sky-Watcher 150/750 mm Newtonian reflector


Sky-Watcher NEQ-5 Pro GoTo







Focal ratio, length:

f/15, 2250 mm




8 x 1/200 s + 8 x 7500 frame (best 15%)


AutoStakkert2!, RegiStax6, PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop



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