The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?  (Read 3512 times)

Offline lunar11

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
The Moon appears small when viewed high up in the sky. The Moon appears vary large when viewed near the horizon. This is due to an optical illusion.
Our brain may be fooled, but surely a camera should show the actual size of the Moon at all times. Why is the camera being fooled too?


 

Offline namaan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 195
    • View Profile
Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #1 on: 29/12/2012 16:26:49 »
"Why is the camera fooled too?"

It surely isn't. Well, it isn't capable of being 'fooled' since it isn't attempting to recognize objects. But you can make a photo show anything you want really. If you zoom into the moon and include a distant landscape into the scene, then you can make the moon look quite big in photographs. This probably requires a nice camera/lens though.

Otherwise, my guess is that photographs are one of the ways to actually show that the size of the moon is constant, depending on how you take the shot.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8129
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #2 on: 29/12/2012 17:15:34 »
... my guess is that photographs are one of the ways to actually show that the size of the moon is constant ...

There is an optical phenomenon due to Earth's atmosphere where the moon is squashed vertically (but not horizontally) when close to the horizon ...


http://www.dewbow.co.uk/glows/moon4.html

So the moon actually appears (photographically) smaller when very close to the horizon due to this squishing (lensing) effect.

That it is perceived by the human mind to be bigger when close to the horizon is an illusion ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_illusion
« Last Edit: 29/12/2012 17:21:38 by RD »
 

Offline Phractality

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 523
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #3 on: 29/12/2012 17:35:08 »
If you use a wide angle lens, you photograph the whole sky. If there's a person in the foreground with the moon behind him, the moon will appear very small.

If you use a telephoto lens, you photograph only a small part of the sky. If there's a person in the distance next to the moon, he may fill the picture, and so will the moon.

Haven't you ever taken a photo?
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8129
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #4 on: 29/12/2012 18:40:03 »
If you use a wide angle lens, you photograph the whole sky. If there's a person in the foreground with the moon behind him, the moon will appear very small.

If you use a telephoto lens, you photograph only a small part of the sky. If there's a person in the distance next to the moon, he may fill the picture, and so will the moon.

The perspective distortion you've described is an optical phenomenon, (apparent in photographs),
whereas the moon illusion is psychological.
 

Offline RE.Craig

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
    • View Profile
Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #5 on: 12/02/2013 16:27:49 »
The Moon appears small when viewed high up in the sky. The Moon appears vary large when viewed near the horizon. This is due to an optical illusion.
Our brain may be fooled, but surely a camera should show the actual size of the Moon at all times. Why is the camera being fooled too?
The moon only ever looks big in a photo if you took the picture with a telephoto lens. The 50-58mm standard lens on a 35mm camera negative barely show the moon as a pin ***** even though it looks as one would see it with the naked eye through the view finder. I never really understood this effect because the standard lens is very close to the perspective and image seen by the human eye, yet we perceive  the moon as quite large in the sky?
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Why does the Moon look large in a camera picture?
« Reply #5 on: 12/02/2013 16:27:49 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length