Weather Blog

Sun plays early morning mind trick

Sun plays early morning mind trick
Getting up early on a Friday morning takes enough brain power as-is, but then the sun has to go and play tricks just to mess with us, I guess.

I was on the early shift Friday morning and I was driving in around 6 a.m. the sunrise was really….freaky. The sun was a shade of fluorescent red and looked about twice its normal size.

I pulled over and tried to take a photo with my cell phone camera (note to self, join the 21st Century and get a cell phone with a higher pixel camera) but the sun appeared to be its usual regular size.

The red tinge we explained a few days ago as likely due to smoke particles by the California wildfires that were carried north by the current upper level wind pattern. But the big sun? That's a little more complex. If you missed it, you've probably seen this before -- either with the sun or sometimes what looks like a huge moon on the horizon.

You'd think it's some atmospheric trick where particles are bending the light in a way to make it appear bigger, just like if you stick a pencil in a glass of water, the submerged part of the pencil will look abnormally large.

But what makes it interesting is, if you see a larger than life moon or sun and try to capture a photo of it, it comes out looking all normal-sized on film and makes you appear a bit loony to those you're trying to describe it to.

(See a photo of it at this link)

So, how could it appear larger to humans, but not have the same effect when captured on film?

Theories abound, but one of the better ones is just the way the human brain perceives objects and distance, and what our brain does to translate those images.

Read this explanation from HowStuffWorks.com as it'll give a good explanation.