Does the Moon Look Bigger During the Winter?

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The only way the moon can look bigger is through an optical illusion. Find out if the moon looks bigger during the winter with help from an astrophysics professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Moons & Planets
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez and I'm an astrophysicist. And this is does the moon look bigger during the winter? The answer is the only way that the moon can look bigger is through an optical illusion. The moon is actually not getting closer. And this optical illusion depends on a lot of things. It depends on the atmosphere and also your perspective. So lets say that we are here on earth. And then we have to look through this much of atmosphere. So lets say this is the atmospheric layer. And here is the moon. The moon is not getting closer during the winter. It's not getting further away so the actual physical size of the moon is not changing in the sky. So how come sometimes it appears bigger? Well generally if you have a lot of humidity in the air and you have a lot of water molecules you can something called the lens effect. Many that the atmosphere is practically acting like a contact lens or like an amplifier. So as you look through, the same thing if you hold a glass of water and you try to look at an object sometimes it looks bigger. Is the exact same idea with the moon. And sometimes during the winter there is a lot of storms or a lot of humidity collected in the atmosphere. So you end up looking at the moon and what you see is an amplified image of the actual moon. But that has to do with where are you looking at it through. And how are you looking at it and the angle of your perspective. My name is Eylene Pirez and I'm an astrophysicist. And this is does the moon look bigger during the winter?

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