Due to a little-understood optical effect called a moon illusion
, it appears gigantic and striking and the clear skies enjoyed by many made for even better skygazing.
That's because of the well documented moon illusion
which tricks our brains into thinking the moon bigger because it's closer to the horizon.
When the moon illusion
amplifies a perigee moon, the swollen orb rising in the east at sunset can seem super indeed."
You will probably notice how big the Moon appears to the naked eye, but if you take a photo it will not be so spectacular as you remembered; this is an optical illusion, known as the Moon Illusion
. In reality the Moon when near the horizon is not bigger at all.
On Saturday, this moon illusion
will amplify a full moon that's extra-big to begin with.
"This combination of the moon illusion
and close perigee gives sky-watchers a chance to see the biggest and fullest moonrise possible," Burress said.
But the Moon illusion
occurs on the open sea and on the flatlands, too.
Last book read: The Moon Illusion
, a collection of scientific papers on why the moon looks bigger on the horizon.
Statements about apparent size were rarely given empirical weight prior to experiments by Desaguliers, apart from the reports of the difference in the apparent size of the moon at the zenith and near the horizon--the moon illusion
(see Hershenson, 1989).
Scientists have yet to unravel the so-called moon illusion
. Experiments now indicate that a horizon moon grows larger because it lies near visual markers of depth and distance on Earth's landscape that make it look much farther away than a higher moon.
Some think this "Moon Illusion
" results because at the horizon, we see the moon closer to foreground objects like trees and buildings as opposed to a moon hanging out alone in the sky.
Today the Moon illusion
is usually explained as a consequence of the eye and brain comparing the lunar disk with adjacent terrestrial references--like trees, buildings, or mountain peaks.