I See The Supermoon Rising!!!
There was alot of excitement over the supermoon this past weekend. But while reading a little bit on it, I was surprised to find that it’s not actually as big as it seems. Phil Plait explains:
Imagine you go outside tonight to look at the full Supermoon rising in the east. Imagine also you’re holding a US dime in your hand (if you live in another country, feel free to substitute your local currency, but beware of the math; hang on a minute to see).
Let me ask you this: How far away would you have to hold the dime so that it appears as big as the Moon to you?
A few inches? A foot? (Convert to metric if you wish). Go ahead, guess!
… OK, ready? [Answer is below the fold so as not to spoil it.]
Here’s the answer: 6 feet. That’s right: unless you’re 12 feet tall, you literally cannot hold a dime in your hand far enough away to be as small as the Moon in the sky!
I love these examples of how our perceptions are so often totally out of touch with our instincts. As Feynman famously said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” —Uncle Eb/John