A Big Moon

People think the moon looks bigger when it’s near the horizon. It’s true. The moon does look bigger near the horizon.

Usually, when we see the moon, it’s up in the sky, away from the horizon.1 If it appears by a tree, it’s a close tree, maybe the tree in the neighbor’s yard. The moon looks small in comparison, like a basketball in the limbs. This is how we’re used to seeing the moon.

When the moon is near the horizon, it could appear by a tree miles away. The tree appears much smaller, yet the moon is the same size. Instead of being the same size as a basketball in the limbs, it looks nearly as large as a tree.

Our brains interpret this as a larger moon, rather than a smaller, father away tree.

The following two pictures illustrate this illusion. The size of the moon in both pictures is the same.

Does the moon look larger to you near the horizon?


  1. After all, the moon is only 1/2 degree angular diameter, yet the Earth rotates about 360 degrees every day. If the moon is visible, odds are, it’s not near the horizon. 

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Dixie Horizon

We made another trek to the Walla Walla valley1 to visit family. The count was 27 — kudos to Ron and Cherie for being willing to host the family, yet again.

Walla Walla was invisible from Dixie’s hills, obscured by the clouds, fog, and rain.

1Where for many, speed limits are an aspirational goal, something to be approached, yet never achieved.

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A View From 12E

Today, Melissa and I flew from Portland to Sacramento. She was returning to college after Thanksgiving break; I was headed to Folsom for work.

Because we didn’t make our reservations together, our seats weren’t either. The counter agent wasn’t able to locate adjacent seats, only near each other. Upon boarding, I sat by Melissa and watched for a confused look from another passenger. The person whose seat I occupied sat across the aisle from me minus the telltale befuddlement; it was the next displaced passenger who arrived with perplexity. Ha! She offered to sit in my assigned seat and all was well. Well, almost. Melissa and I then swapped seats so I could snap pictures while she drowsed against my shoulder.

I trust your return to “normal life” after Thanksgiving break also included the requisite discombobulation.

Update. On a later flight, I was able to identify the “unknown peak” as the eastern flank of Mt. Thielsen.

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