Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

According to the Wikipedia article Moon illusion, it has apparently been "proven" that the moon's larger appearance at the horizon is, indeed, an illusion, and not a magnification of some kind.

I think we can accept this proof, since (as pointed out by the comments and the Wikipedia article) there are several very straightforward ways to verify this.

In spite of this, there is still disagreement about what causes this illusion.

So what is the real reason? A quick Google search pulls up a few articles like this one that tend to rely entirely on their own explanation on not on any studies or external evidence whatsoever.

share|improve this question
1  
Take two pictures: one of the moon high in the sky and one of the moon setting. Use the same zoom level. Will the picture of the moon have the same size? (hint: yes). :-) –  Sklivvz Mar 26 '11 at 21:34
    
Hey, the Astronomy StackExchange also covered this: astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/183/… –  Brightblades Oct 28 '11 at 15:43
    
To my eyes, the moon looks the same size on the horizon as it does when it is in the sky. I can vaguely recall that when I was very young it looked bigger, but it does not now, even if I try to trick myself into thinking that it does. –  Michael Jun 21 at 4:36

1 Answer 1

enter image description here

(Image comes from http://www.moillusions.com/2008/12/moon-optical-illusion.html and may have nothing to do with the 'real' moon illusion.)

Donald E. Simanek has a very good article about the phenomenon on his website. The opinion presented in his article is that the true nature of the illusion is not completely understood. He presents a number of theories, debunking those that are wrong, and offering suggestions about the more plausible ones.

For the time being, the whole true reason behind the phenomenon remains unresolved.

share|improve this answer
    
Good answer, thank you! This is the type of answer I like to see here, with links and even illustrations. –  NickC Mar 26 '11 at 22:08
2  
Whilst this may technically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. Blockquotes are an excellent way to do this. –  Borror0 Mar 27 '11 at 20:58

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.