Friday, June 29, 2007

Amazing summer Moon Illusion

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Amazing natural phenomena of Moon Illusion...

On Saturday night, June 30th, step outside at sunset and look around. You'll see a giant moon rising in the east. This full moon is strangely inflated. It's huge!

Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. Cameras don't see it, but human eyes do; it's a genuine illusion.

This weekend's full moon hangs lower in the sky than any other full moon of 2007, so the Moon Illusion is going to be strong. Because the summer solstice was just last week (June 21st), the sun is near its highest point in northern skies. The full moon is correspondingly low.

When you look at the moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot. So why does your brain think one is bigger than the other? After all these years, scientists still aren't sure of the answer.

A similar illusion was discovered in 1913 by Mario Ponzo, who drew two identical bars across a pair of converging lines, like the railroad tracks pictured left. The upper yellow bar looks wider because it spans a greater apparent distance between the rails. This is the "Ponzo Illusion."

Some researchers believe that the Moon Illusion is Ponzo's Illusion, with trees and houses playing the role of Ponzo's converging lines. Foreground objects trick your brain into thinking the moon is bigger than it really is.

Source : Physorg




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