Science Questions

Why does the moon look larger on the horizon?

Sun, 29th Oct 2006

Part of the show Superconductivity and Cooling Devices

Question

Eddie in St Lawrence Bay asked:

Why does the moon look larger on the horizon?

Answer

This is all down to an optical illusion. The brain has no frame of reference when the moon is high up in the sky, whereas when it's on the horizon, the brain is comparing it to other things in the same frame of reference: there are trees, there are buildings, as well as the moon. Therefore the brain is fooled into thinking that the moon is a lot bigger than it really is.

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