Super Moon, Aspirin and Illusions

November 21, 2016

By Mike Bossy

This past month, we have been treated to a celestial event called the “Super Moon” and it was super. I was fortunate to have seen it. Because it was the closest it’s been since 1948, it was 30% brighter than when it is the furthest away from earth. The fact is, it wasn’t bigger. It is actually the same size as any other full moon. So why does the moon appear bigger when we see it on the horizon? 

No one really knows. At least that is what I gleaned from an article by Carl Sagan. You can prove it’s not by holding an aspirin at arm’s length and covering the moon. Regardless of elevation, the aspirin just covers it. I know because I tried it. So what gives? 

The truth is that our mind makes it up. It’s an illusion. There are many theories as to why but nothing final. Is our brain prewired to assume objects high in the sky are closer than objects near the horizon? The image registering on our retinas is the same size. Someone will eventually figure this out since the only natural resource is the human brain and our curiousity, alertness, resourcefulness and responsiveness to problems and opportunities has always served us well.

In your family business, what illusions might exist as they relate to the definitions of the words we using in our communications? Think about it.

P.S. try this when no one is looking. Carl Sagan suggests this. Bend over and look at the moon between your legs. “The effect vanishes, presumably because you have flipped the scene reaching the brain by placing the horizon above the moon”.

P.S.S. Stan Honda took the picture.


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Knowledge. Clarity. Action.