Photo: Edmund E. Kasaitis.
Tomorrow night’s full moon will be very low in the sky, and will give a strong illusion of being far bigger than it actually is.
Exactly why we experience this phenomenon is unclear; NASA provides several explanations, including this one:
A similar illusion was discovered in 1913 by Mario Ponzo, who drew two identical bars across a pair of converging lines [like railroad tracks]…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.
Talking of illusions, here’s the winner of the 2008 Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest.