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Last Updated: Thursday June 23 2005 09:38 GMT

Moon plays tricks with our eyes

The full moon over London
The full moon played tricks with our eyes on Wednesday, appearing much bigger than it has for several years.

It gave the illusion of being a huge glowing ball when it rose above the horizon at around 10.30pm, but there are reasons for this strange happening.

It was partly due to this week's summer solstice - the time of year when the moon is at its lowest and the sun at its highest in the sky.

The moon was also at the point in its cycle where it hangs low in the sky.

This is known as a "lunar standstill" and the moon had not been that low since June 1987.

But anyone frightened by the sight should remember that it's all an optical illusion.

The moon isn't actually getting bigger, but the way the human eye interprets the scene makes it seem that way.

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