Иллюзия луны

Мало кто станет отрицать, что луна имеет более удивительный и завораживающий вид и кажется больше и ближе, когда находится низко над горизонтом, чем когда находится высоко в небе. Но это иллюзия - точнее, "иллюзия луны" - поскольку расстояние, которое проходит отраженный от луны свет до глаза наблюдателя одинаково, независимо от высоты луны над горизонтом. Похожая иллюзия имеет место при наблюдении заходящего солнца и расстояний между нейтральными точками звезд на разной высоте над горизонтом.

Но иллюзия луны - это не только восхитительное зрелище, но и, возможно, самый древний нерешенный вопрос в науке. Ссылки на нее можно найти на относящихся к шестому веку до нашей эры глиняных табличках из королевских библиотек Ниневии и Вавилона, а также в собрании китайских легенд пятого века до нашей эры. Объяснить это явление пытались ведущие ученые и математики: да Винчи, Кеплер, Декарт и многие другие.

На протяжении большей части истории, известной нам по сохранившимся историческим документам, эта иллюзия считалась результатом физических процессов. Например, Аристотель в III веке до н.э. и Птолемей во II веке н.э. ошибочно объясняли эту иллюзию увеличительными свойствами атмосферы. Альхазен (Ибн Аль-Хайтан) связывал иллюзию луны с плоским видом небесного свода.

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