At dusk on July 11 the thin crescent of the waxing moon set alongside Regulus: the Heart of the Lion.
“Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, is known to spin rapidly on its axis. If it spun only slightly more rapidly, the star would fly apart.” – Earthsky.org
I’ve had it in my head that if you hold a quarter at arms length, that’s about how large both the sun and moon appear from Earth. Not true. I tested it out and was surprised at how tiny the moon looks. With a ruler held at arms length, it measured less than a quarter inch. I’ve noticed that when I take photos the moon looks smaller. I thought it was the camera distorting the scene, but it’s my brain doing the distorting. My mistake is probably unrelated to the “moon illusion” where the moon seems larger towards the horizon. (It’s really the same size, of course, but it appears slightly smaller, since it’s farther away from the viewer by one Earth radius).
If you’re outside today, stay cool and wave to the Cassini spacecraft – it’s taking a photo of Earth through the rings of Saturn, over a billion miles away.