I swear I saw the man on the moon
June 23, 2013 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Following the recent 'supermoon' in Australia, it brought back a vivid childhood memory that I'd like to either confirm (which would be awesome) or chalk up to an overactive child imagination.

I have a clear memory of being at my grandmother's house as a small child (under 7 years old) and walking outside with her to view the moon, which was HUGE. I'm not talking slightly larger and brighter like the recent supermoon, it was remarkably big and took up quite a bit of space in the sky (as far as the moon goes), and I remember it being quite a thing at the time. This would have been in the early to mid 1990's (1993 - 1996).
Is there a way I could find out if this gigantic supermoon ever did occur in Australia, or did I just over-imagine it?
posted by sunshine arakhan to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
While the moon may appear larger when it is close to the horizon while rising and setting, the size of the moon and its relative closeness to us has not changed in millions and millions of years.

The size and shape of the moon you've seen your entire life has been the same so I would chalk this up to the magic of being a child.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:08 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

You should be able to google previous supermoon dates to give you a better idea of possible dates...however I would chalk it up to things seeming much larger when you are young.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2013

Bottlebrushtree is right... but that magic of a moon on the horizon, with those you love is real... cherish it...
posted by HuronBob at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think it was Easter Saturday, April 15, 1995. I saw it too. I don't know if they classed it as a supermoon but it was enormous! I remember it because we were out at 4.30am setting up our market stall for the 40th consecutive week. I glanced up to Mt Wellington (lat: -42.88) and this stunning huge creamy white ball began rising behind it. I was gobsmacked (and then bum-smacked by my husband who wanted me to get back to work) but we both just stood there in awe. It was a stunning reward for waking up so early and being out in the freezing chill.
posted by Kerasia at 11:55 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is a well-known effect of the Moon being near the horizon. The "Supermoon" phenomenon doesn't make the Moon's appearance in the sky "huge", although it can be somewhat larger.
posted by logopetria at 1:00 AM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

It's a wonderful thing, when the moon is magnified beyond belief by atmospheric conditions. That's what you saw. It's likely that you'll see it again one day.
posted by h00py at 5:28 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The moon isn't magnified -- it's perceived to be larger when close to the horizon, due to a poorly understood psychological effect. Change your perspective and the illusion vanishes: face away from the moon, then bend over and look at it between your legs. Having reframed the moon in an unfamiliar context, it will appear much closer to its normal size.

I know it sounds like I'm joking, but I'm quite serious.
posted by samofidelis at 7:24 AM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not bending over and looking between my legs to see a normal sized moon, thank you very much.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Please enjoy this beautiful video that captures the "Moon Illusion" wonderfully.

This was shot in New Zealand using a camera/telescope set up that was over two kilometers away from the people that you see walking up to the lookout spot:

Moon Rise
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 11:37 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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