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Curator’s Choice: Most Awesome Comment of the Day

Curator’s Choice: Most Awesome Comment of the Day

This post is in response to the second ( of two Community posts, asking for help in identifying the object in the sky. Our poster has a fondness for the legend of Nibiru, which led to a heated discussion in her first post (, as is typical of the SoG+ Community! We just happen to think that Sparthir Kiwiwarrior  resolution of this issue is full of win! By the way, welcome to our community Elisabeth Natividad Gutiérrez Alcalá  We are glad you found the Outreach section and hope we continue to learn from each other and enjoy #ScienceEveryday 🙂

Originally shared by Sparthir Kiwiwarrior

I came across a post from a young lawyer from Granada, Spain asking if it was indeed the moon she was seeing in a photo she took.  It looked rather big and unusual.  So I wondered if I could confirm it from here (all the way in New Zealand).

I had the date, time and location the photo was taken all I needed to do was:

1. Bring up Google Street View to find the direction (due West virtually).

2. Bring up Stellarium ( and put in the right location, date and time and look West.

Wonderfully it was la Luna (the moon)!

So next is to answer why it appeared to be so big.

Well ever notice how the moon seems so big when it rises at night?  This is known as the Moon Illusion.  One idea is that it looks bigger because your eye has something to give it a scale (a building for example).

If you actually get a measurement you will see it isn’t bigger in fact it is about 1.5% smaller than when it is directly over head!


1. I added a red line on the Stellarium screenshot to show roughly where the horizon is.

2. I wish I could speak Spanish. :/  My family decided to not continue speaking it when they came to New Zealand and it still makes me a little sad that they decided to stop speaking such a nice language.

3. Turns out Granada, Spain is exactly 12 hours different to us here in New Zealand currently.  This means the time I set is 12 hours off the local time.  🙂

#science   #moonrise  


Join the Conversation


  1. #Moonillusion   certainly been a topic of debate over thousands of years – is it smaller, or just perceived to be?  All the experiments done since Ptolemy (my favorite of this family was Cleopatra) say you’re correct, Luna is continually constant in its dimensions.  Thanks.


  2. Catherine Rapicano It isn’t the moon that is changing shape.

    1. Its distance is variable for a start as it has an elliptical orbit.

    2. It is also further away from you when viewed on the horizon than when it is seen directly overhead.

    Remember that when you see it on the horizon you are roughly radius of the Earth further away.

    Fun fact (I’m not sure about this so it needs confirming) the Earths atmosphere bends the light from the sun as it sets making it appear to be in the sky longer than it would if we had no atmosphere.  In fact when you see the sun set on the horizon the instant the sun touches the horizon it is already set technically fully over the horizon.   Now I picked this up from QI so I can’t be held responsible if the researchers got it wrong on that television program.  Still it is mind (and light) bending stuff.  So if we follow up from that does it mean that the moon has the same effect? 

    Go researchers, go!  Lets find out if the moon is technically over the horizon when it is still visible to us! 🙂


  3. Hello!!! The day before yesterday I saw the moon in crescent phase with the form of the letter U at 22:30 PM. It’s very strange because…. I have always seen the moon in this phase like a small slice of melon here in Guadix and Barcelona.

    OK I have no photo but the next time I’ll be prepared 


  4. Sparthir Kiwiwarrior Yes…… I have to wait for another crescent phase of the moon because at nights clouds cover my moon or it’s raining. 

    I will be prepared with my NOKIA XPRESS MUSIC MOBILE because I am saving a little money to buy GOOGLE GLASS. I supose they will have high definition.

    Imagine me Sir Spartihr Kiwiwarrior at night listening to music with my NOKIA and waiting to make another foto to MY MOON. 🙂

    I promise you. All with my moon is very strange. Do you have photos from the moon in different ways???


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