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The infamous “Rising moon” illusion July 27, 2006

Posted by Al in : nature,science , trackback

I’m not sure how many times I have had this argument with my friends, but it is a regular recurrence. Someone will always bring up the lens effect of the atmosphere, causing curvature and magnification, which is why the moon appears larger when it is near the horizon. WRONG! The only reason the moon appears larger then is because the brain mis-interperets it’s signals and tells you that the moon is larger due to having horizon referrence points and no way of judging the actual distance the moon is from the Earth. Curvature and refraction play absolutely no part at all – just cut out a hole in a piece of paper or card and view the moon through that and you will see this is the case.

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