Galileo's visual illusion explained

Feb 12, 2014, 10:28 AM EST
A Perseid meteor (R) streaks across the sky past the light trail of an aircraft over the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank on August 13, 2013 in Holmes Chapel, United Kingdom.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Galileo first asked the question: Why does Venus look bigger than Jupiter to the naked eye? When looked at through a telescope, the gas giant is obviously the larger planet. Scientists have found that it is a result of the way the eye interprets light against a dark background.

Background:

Big Venus and small Jupiter: Galileo’s astronomical puzzle is solved after 400 years [Independent]

Galileo’s Planetary Puzzle Has Finally Been Solved [TIME]

Scientists solve optical illusion that baffled Galileo [Christian Science Monitor]

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