Phenomena : Shrinking Moon

Phenomena : Shrinking Moon

Photographers taking photos of a full moon just rising above the horizon may find the result disappointing. The moon seems much smaller in the photograph than it did when viewed with the naked eye. Even professional photographers fall for this one.

Yet on a normal lens, 50mm on a 35mm camera, the field of view is around 50 degrees, and the width of the moon, subtending an angle of 0.5 degrees, will be 100th of the width of the photo! Many photographs that you see in magazines, containing both a moon and a landscape, will be composites. The landscape will be taken with a normal lens, the moon taken with a telephoto lens, to get a bigger image.

How does this illusion come about? Since the moon always subtends an angle of 0.5 degrees, the image on the retina must always be the same. Clearly the problem is one of interpretation. One simple experiment shows this to be so. A full moon just above the horizon will not appear so large to the human eye if a piece of paper is held up to that eye with a hole in it, so that only the moon can be seen through the hole and not the horizon. If the other eye is open at the same time, viewing both the moon and the horizon, the two eyes will each see different sized moons!

Photo : Composite





IcosaGame




19 Jan 2019 : 3.84.186.122 : Phenomena : Shrinking Moon