The following picture has been emailed to me twice now. Maybe some of you have seen it, too. The caption that came with the photo said, in part: “This is the sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point.”
It’s a lovely picture, isn’t it? Don’t you envy the people who were up in the Arctic and saw this? Or wait—did they? Hmmm. What do you think? Is it real or not? Why?
Think about it. I’ll wait. And don’t do a web search on it—that’s cheating. See if you can figure it out from the internal evidence.
I think it’s staring you in the face.
What do you think?
(Don’t make it too complicated.)
I’ll be down below here where you’re ready to talk about it.
Okay, that’s long enough. Answer: It can’t be real. The moon is the same angular size as the sun when viewed from Earth–which is why we get beautiful solar eclipses when the moon moves in front of the sun. Its apparent size in the sky varies only slightly due to the eccentricity of its orbit around Earth.
Images are very powerful, aren’t they? And we’re all conditioned to believe that if they look real, they are.
P.S. Only after writing this did I do a search on the image and found that it has some interesting history. It’s a work of art called “Hideaway” by Inga Nielsen. You can read a bit about it at hoax-slayer.com, and see some of her other beautiful artwork. This one was even featured on June 20 on Astronomy Picture of the Day, which I look at regularly; but I guess I missed it that day.