Why the moon will seem so large tonight

June 18th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 18 (ANI): Tonight, the moon will seem unusually large, an illusion that has been explained by scientists.

According to a report in Live Science, as the full moon rises this evening, it would seem larger than usual, because of a trick in our minds that makes the moon seem bigger when its near the horizon.

The effect is most pronounced at full moon. In fact, many people swear its real, suggesting that perhaps Earths atmosphere magnifies the moon.

But, according to scientists, it really is all in our minds. The moon is not bigger at the horizon than when overhead.

The illusion will be particularly noticeable at this solstice moon, coming just two days before summer starts in the Northern Hemisphere.

The reason, according to NASA, lies in lunar mechanics: The sun and full moon are like kids on a see-saw; when one is high, the other is low.

This weeks high solstice sun gives a low, horizon-hugging moon and a strong, long-lasting version of the illusion.

As for how the illusion works, its because the mind believes things on the horizon are farther away than things overhead, because one is used to seeing clouds just a few miles above, but the clouds on the horizon can indeed be hundreds of miles away.

So if we think something (such as the moon) is farther away, and its not, then it seems larger. (ANI)

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