Proof of illusion

A popular belief, stretching back at least to Aristotle in the 4th century B.C., holds that the Moon appears larger near the horizon due to a real magnification effect caused by the Earth's atmosphere. This is not true: although the atmosphere does change the perceived color of the Moon, it does not magnify nor enlarge it.[3] In fact, the Moon appears about 1.5% smaller when it is near the horizon than when it is high in the sky, because it is farther away by up to one Earth radius and also because of atmospheric refraction, which makes the image of the Moon slightly smaller in the vertical direction. (Note that between different full moons, the Moon's angular diameter can vary from 33.5 arc minutes at perigee to 29.43 arc minutes at apogeea difference of over 10%.[4] This is because of the ellipticity of the Moon's orbit.) The angle that the full Moon subtends at an observer's eye can be measured directly with a theodolite to show that it remains constant as the Moon rises or sinks in the sky (discounting the very small variations due to the physical effects mentioned). Photographs of the Moon at different elevations also show that its size remains the same.[citation needed] A simple way of demonstrating that the effect is an illusion is to hold a small object (say, 1/4 inch wide) at arm's length (25 inches) with one eye closed, positioning it next to the seemingly large Moon. When the Moon is higher in the sky, positioning the same object near the Moon reveals that there is no change in size. The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation). Atmospheric stratification describes the structure of the atmosphere, dividing it into distinct layers, each with specific characteristics such as temperature or composition. The atmosphere has a mass of about 5?1018 kg, three quarters of which is within about 11 km (6.8 mi; 36,000 ft) of the surface. The atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with increasing altitude, with no definite boundary between the atmosphere and outer space. An altitude of 120 km (75 mi) is where atmospheric effects become noticeable during atmospheric reentry of spacecraft. The Karman line, at 100 km (62 mi), also is often regarded as the boundary between atmosphere and outer space. This altitude amounts to 1.57% of the Earth's radius. Air is the name given to the atmosphere used in breathing and photosynthesis. Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%. While air content and atmospheric pressure vary at different layers, air suitable for the survival of terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals is currently only known to be found in Earth's troposphere and artificial atmospheres.