The Perception of Visual Information by Peter F. Sharp, Russell Philips (auth.), William R. Hendee,

By Peter F. Sharp, Russell Philips (auth.), William R. Hendee, Peter N. T. Wells (eds.)

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Because the distance to the moon does not change, the actual size of the moon and the size of the moon's image on the retina do not change. Thus, this is a perception phenomenon. One explanation which has been put forth claims that because the light from the moon passes through more of the earth's atmosphere, when it is near the horizon the rays are refracted in a way that makes the moon appear larger. Another explanation is that the angle of the eye observing the moon changes from nearly perpendicular to the body axis to steeply elevated upward and that this angle is used by the brain to interpret size, making things overhead appear smaller than things at the horizon.

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