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 Post subject: Moon Lovers Folder
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:15 am 
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Location: London - England - Velatropa 24.3
[b]Why does the moon look so big now?[/b]

[color=green]For the past few nights the moon has appeared larger than many people have seen it for almost 20 years. It is the world's largest optical illusion, and one of its most enduring mysteries.

[img]http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41228000/jpg/_41228947_moon416.jpg[/img]

It can put a man in space, land a probe on Mars, but Nasa can't explain why the moon appears bigger when it's on the horizon than when it's high in the night sky.

The mystery of the Moon Illusion, witnessed by millions of people this week, has puzzled great thinkers for centuries. There have even been books devoted to the matter.

Not since June 1987 has the moon been this low in the sky, accentuating the illusion even further.

But opinion differs on why there is such an apparent discrepancy in size between a moon on the horizon and one in the distant sky.

Two main theories dominate. The first, known as the Ponzo Illusion - named after Mario Ponzo who demonstrated it in 1913 - suggests that the mind judges the size of an object based on its background.

Ponzo drew two identical bars across a picture of railway tracks which converge as they recede into the distance (see pop-up, right). The upper bar looks wider because it appears to span the rails, as opposed to the lower bar, which sits between the rails.

In the same way, with a low-lying moon the trees and houses, which are familiar foreground reference points, appear smaller against the moon, which appears bigger than it really is.

Sceptics of this theory point to airline pilots who also see the illusion, although they have no ground reference points.

Alternatively, there's the theory that the brain perceives the sky as a flattened dome rather than the true hemisphere it really is.[/color]

Read the full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4619063.stm

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[img]http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/magazine_the_moon_illusion/img/1.jpg[/img][img]http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/magazine_the_moon_illusion/img/2.jpg[/img]

[b]The Ponzo Illusion[/b]
Two yellow bars are drawn across railway tracks which converge towards the distant horizon.

To the eye, the top bar appears to be wider than the bottom bar.

But the bars are the same width. The upper bar seems wider because the brain judges it against the tracks and, unlike the lower bar, it straddles both rails.

In the same way, some believe familiar foreground objects make a low-lying moon in the distance appear bigger.

[img]http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/magazine_the_moon_illusion/img/3.jpg[/img][img]http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/magazine_the_moon_illusion/img/4.jpg[/img]

[b]The Flattened Sky[/b]
Alternatively, there is the flattened sky theory, although some believe this works in conjunction with Ponzo's illusion.

The true size of the moon remains the same because it stays a constant distance from the eye as it rises into the sky.

But, it's suggested that the human brain perceives the sky to be a flattened dome rather than a true hemisphere.

In doing so, it compensates for the supposed discrepancy, making the moon seem smaller than it is.

:D »§«,¸¸,.·´¯`·.,¸¸,.·´¯`·.»§«,¸¸,.·´¯`·.»§«

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