Astronomy
Dwarf Planet Pluto
The Moon

Why does the moon appear much larger when it rises than when it is directly overhead?

181920

Answer

User Avatar
Wiki User
08/09/2009

When the moon is nearer the horizon it is being observed through more atmosphere. The air acts as a magnifying glass and makes the moon appear much larger. As it rises higher in the sky, there is less air distortion and it appears a normal size. See the related question linked below. The atmosphere explanation is not generally held to play a major role in this illusion. Here's a link that explains it:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap031011.html