Q:

Why does the moon change size?

A:

Quick Answer

The moon appears to change size depending on its location in the sky because of the phenomenon called the moon illusion. The apparent change in size occurs because of how the viewer's brain interprets the visual data it receives.

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Full Answer

One theory suggests that when the moon is near the horizon, the viewer's brain interprets it as being farther away, therefore seeming larger than when it is directly overhead. Another theory argues that the relative size of nearby objects influences how big the moon appears. When the moon is near the horizon, the fine detail of terrestrial objects makes it seem larger. When the moon is directly overhead, there are no nearby objects for comparison, making it seem smaller in the empty night sky.

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    Why does the moon wax and wane?

    A:

    The moon appears to wax and wane through different phases due to how much of its illuminated surface is visible from Earth. At any given time, half the moon is illuminated by the sun's light. Depending on where the moon is in relation to the Earth, the amount of illuminated surface changes. The ratio of illuminated surface to shadowed surface creates the phases.

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    Can the moon really affect your sleep patterns?

    A:

    Though scientists find the phenomenon hard to explain, it may be true that people tend to get a little bit less sleep during a full moon, and the sleep they do get is not as deep as it is at other times of the month. While increased nighttime light could be an issue, research showed that the moon impacted subjects' sleep even if they were in a windowless room. However, the European scientists who conducted this study, which was reported in 2013, seem to doubt their own findings.

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    Why is the moon yellow?

    A:

    The moon is not yellow, but appears to look yellow when it is positioned high in the sky. For example, when the moon is low in the sky, it is being viewed through the most atmosphere and appears more red. As it moves higher into the sky, the amount of atmosphere that it is viewed through is lessened, making it look more yellow.

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    When was the moon first discovered?

    A:

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