Have you ever noticed how seemingly enormous the Moon looks as it rises over the horizon? Each day, as our lunar satellite makes its journey through the sky (although that is mostly due to our daily revolution) it rises just under an hour later than the previous day (as it makes its regular orbit around us every 28 days).
During this daily rise, the “moon illusion” becomes apparent, a glowing disk that seems closer to us for a time than when it’s hanging high in the sky. The reason for this illusion is still under a bit of debate, but check out this video from ASAP Science for a nice explanation. Of course, the Moon is always the same distance away, and its swollen appearance is merely our brain playing tricks on us.
Because we know the precise orbit of our nocturnal orb, Mark Gee was able to position himself across from New Zealand’s Mount Victoria lookout (two kilometers away!), aim his camera, and capture the rising disk as it silhouettes watchers of the night.
This is not a time-lapse. This is a moon rise in real time, giving us an illusion of size and showcasing the reality of our beautiful night sky. No matter how many moons you’ve lived, they still impress, no? Simply amazing.
Astute observers in the northern hemisphere (where I live) will note that the Moon looks flipped on its head from our normal view. This is because people in New Zealand live upside-down, and look at their own version of the Moon :)