The Moon Terminator Illusion

  • Published on Jun 7, 2015
    Sources and sites to learn more below!!!
    dolly zoom effect:
    visual angle:
    great visual angle / angular diameter chart:
    moon terminator illusion resources:
    rogers and olga naumenko (2014):
    moon tile illusion [PDF]:
    the (more famous) moon illusion:
    cylindrical perspective animation:
    graphical perspective:
    optics of perspective:
    keystone effect:
    subjective constancy:
    crepuscular rays:,_India.JPG
    lunar phase interactive:
    car illusion:
    star field illusion:
    hallway illusion:
    Euclid’s Optics: [PDF]
    art resources:
    other geometric illusions:
  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 6 885

  • Salvador Marmolejo

    Michael, I’ve always wondered why it took “so long” for artists to use proper foreshadowing in pre-Renaissance paintings and you answered it, thank you!

  • ricky huertas
    ricky huertas 2 days ago

    2:40 my brain when i watch vsauce

  • Snow Leopard
    Snow Leopard 2 days ago


  • Viktor Reznov
    Viktor Reznov 5 days ago

    Vsauce should do again some free videos, did Michael forgot about us?

    • Shirokröte
      Shirokröte 4 days ago +1

      Check out the DONG channel. Michael does little "VSauce-light" videos on there.

  • Golden_ Guardian
    Golden_ Guardian 5 days ago

    I'm still painting like a child

  • Adam Silver
    Adam Silver 7 days ago

    Please return to making amazing videos like this one. It's been about 10 months since I watched an original Vsauce video and I have since forgotten how to think until now.

    • Shirokröte
      Shirokröte 4 days ago

      Check out the DONG channel. Michael does VSauce mini videos on there

  • That one Beetlejuice that invaded your quest

    The Terminator Illusion: If you look into Lava, you might see a thumb.

  • Gnate
    Gnate 10 days ago

    Door GET REKT

  • The Kid with the Perfect Grammar

    I don't look at the sky, even if the moon and sun are both up there.

  • Shreerang Vaidya
    Shreerang Vaidya 10 days ago

    Illuminati d

  • gdgd 99
    gdgd 99 14 days ago

    I study architecture and learning about drawing perspectives with vanishing points really makes you have another whole "perspective" about this topic

  • The Daily Brain
    The Daily Brain 14 days ago +1

    6:06, tilt your device backward and you can see the cars are in fact the same size.

  • Martin Gabriel
    Martin Gabriel 15 days ago

    You look like Megamind.

  • Bitschnoozle
    Bitschnoozle 15 days ago

    Vsauce is uploading sexc vids again

  • DerpyGuy3333
    DerpyGuy3333 15 days ago

    just went from talking about the sun and moon to looking at old paintings in just over ten minutes

  • Joe Masters
    Joe Masters 17 days ago

    I wonder how many people read this video title out loud in Schwarzenneger's voice

  • Adresse Poubelle
    Adresse Poubelle 21 day ago +2

    I have a bit of a disagreement with the camera experiment. The Moon terminator illusion happens even when the Moon and the Sun are both in our field of view. The line between the wall and the ceiling is always a straight line even on the camera screen across the entire field of view. Only when the field of view changes does the line's slope change. But that's now a different situation from the Moon terminator situation where the whole thing sits in our field of view. I would back up what I just said by insisting that if you take a picture containing both the Sun and the Moon, the illusion still appears, whereas the ceiling's edge is straight. I'm a huge fan of this channel, the few things I happen to know about are explained extremely accurately, much better than I ever could, but I disagree with the validity of the camera explanation and I'd love it if sb could give me their view.

    • rbwannasee
      rbwannasee 18 days ago

      I agree with you. The best and most significant part of this video is 4:20 to 4:37. The rest quite honestly is misleading babble that doesn't really get anywhere. How do you go from a discussion of the moon terminator illusion to the finer points of renaissance art! The path of light between the sun and moon is perceived by an observer on earth as along a 'great circle' on the celestial sphere - easy as that. I've had issues with one of this guys videos before...

  • nerodanger 87
    nerodanger 87 23 days ago

    2:45 looking like that Iridociclitus kid

  • swoon drones
    swoon drones 24 days ago

    flat eartherrfs could lerarn something from this, and get over their delusions.

  • Moadot720
    Moadot720 24 days ago


  • sdcsds fdvbdf
    sdcsds fdvbdf 25 days ago

    This is a BS artist. If the sun is on the horizon (= angle zero) then the moon terminator cannot be slanted backwards at all. Otherwise the official science is wrong.
    If the sun is above the horizon at an altitude angle A, then the moon terminator cannot be slanted backwards by more than this angle A. You need to measure and compare only 2 angles.

  • Doug J
    Doug J 25 days ago

    2:34 your IQ when watching vsauce

  • Sir Abhishek
    Sir Abhishek 25 days ago

    We need new videos now

  • White Blogger Black Specs

    Megamind Michael Stevens

  • TheBWoods15
    TheBWoods15 29 days ago

    I imagine illusions like this are used in movies such as Godzilla, Power Rangers, Ant-Man, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, etc.

  • Ghostly
    Ghostly Month ago

    cool music

  • Artistic Channel
    Artistic Channel Month ago

    here's a clue... *clues*

  • Buihongquan W
    Buihongquan W Month ago

    8:15 the best illusion ever. Seriously, I recommend you guys to hold your hand up or making a hole with your thumb to try it

  • AceAttorny
    AceAttorny Month ago

    Where does Michael work out?

  • Grandpa Chillin’
    Grandpa Chillin’ Month ago

    Who dislikes this and why

  • XtremePlayz22
    XtremePlayz22 Month ago

    Vsauce: why we dont see curved lines
    Me:Beacause the earth is flat

  • Viktor Tomanov
    Viktor Tomanov Month ago

    2:10 Holy fudging Molly, thank the Universe the first years of life are unconscious LOL

  • Raul JR Lara
    Raul JR Lara Month ago

    Where all my stoners at

  • Rōnin
    Rōnin Month ago +1

    Does anyone know the song at the beginning?

  • Sanjog Kumar
    Sanjog Kumar Month ago

    This is the best video for a photographer to learn and improve their perspective to look at the physical environment.

  • I'm a fucking idiot but I think that

    I fucking love the thumbnail

  • Mr Intelectualista
    Mr Intelectualista Month ago

    7:27 didn’t expect that greeting again lol

  • Aspiring Cloud Expert

    Vsauce videos are the best.

    SOMNIOX Month ago

    This is bullshit *earth is flat*

  • bbhd05
    bbhd05 Month ago

    2:33 crash bandicoot 4 vsauce as cortex confirmed

    Read more

  • Shwibi Shrabs
    Shwibi Shrabs Month ago

    You literally give me more knowledge in one video than the knowledge I get in 2 days...,

  • Shwibi Shrabs
    Shwibi Shrabs Month ago

    India. That's all I gotta say. India.

  • cell
    cell Month ago

    a door is a rectangle

  • Month ago


  • ♫♪Ludwig van Beethoven♪♫

    Flatards disliked this video

  • AquaSkye
    AquaSkye Month ago +1

    hey, vsauce! michael here.
    i'm a human.
    or am i?

  • Powxll
    Powxll Month ago

    So this works because of human perspective compared to horizons and what we see as straight lines and not accounting for distance and angles of the sun?

  • Outpat
    Outpat Month ago

    they paid vsauce off guys

  • TheGamingEagle24
    TheGamingEagle24 Month ago

    Michael is Megamind confirmed

  • MLG Gamer Vida
    MLG Gamer Vida Month ago +4

    Regular person: A door is a rectangle
    me: ok....
    Michael: A door is a rectangle
    Me: Wow facinationg!

  • Chelsea Watson
    Chelsea Watson Month ago

    With much guilt, it took me probably about 8 times of watching this video from the date of its upload to now (3+ years) to understand this illusion. (I got really stuck with the curve between the moon and sun.)

  • Alexandra Danțuș
    Alexandra Danțuș Month ago

    I really liked the bit at the end about perspective in art. Medieval artists were not stupid, they deliberately pursued stylization instead of realism.

  • MachineGun
    MachineGun Month ago

    Why does every video of Vsauce become a meme? I find them actually amazing lol

  • Dallas Compston
    Dallas Compston Month ago

    So much Byzantine iconography!

  • CheesecakeLasagna
    CheesecakeLasagna Month ago +1

    2:35 *iridocyclitis*

  • iUseVegas
    iUseVegas 2 months ago

    watching this on lsd XD A+

  • ashley merrell
    ashley merrell 2 months ago

    Anyone know what the song is called that is used in the middle of the video? (plays during the zoom/move canceling out scene in the forest)

  • DerSibbe
    DerSibbe 2 months ago +1

    0:49 wanna solve that 7x7 Cube in the back

  • Noah Bradford
    Noah Bradford 2 months ago

    “Your brain doesn’t freak out every time a door opens” lmfao Michael tell that to my ptsd ass

  • YLR Entertainment
    YLR Entertainment 2 months ago +1

    Onetime (when I was younger), I asked my mom "Why is the sun following us?"

  • Brinstar Media
    Brinstar Media 2 months ago

    The car pic was freaking me out. Lol. I covered everything in the pic except the cars with my fingers and the illusion went away

  • YulianXD
    YulianXD 2 months ago

    2:36 you're not scary, you are just jacksfilms.

  • Jellyfish are Dumb
    Jellyfish are Dumb 2 months ago

    2:43 jacksfilms

  • John Paquette
    John Paquette 2 months ago

    I love your stuff, but unfortunately, In this video, you use the term "foreshorten" incorrectly. To foreshorten something is to make it appear to have *less depth* than it actually does. The apparent depth of, say, a cube is less when photographed with a telephoto lens than it is when photographed with a wide-angle lens (assuming the front surface of the cube is the same apparent size in both photographs). This is because the zoom lens makes the back-surface of the cube look almost as big as the front surface, and it's the difference in size between the two which our brains take as a depth cue for the cube.
    Long lenses foreshorten objects.
    The dolly-zoom effect is a vivid illustration of foreshortening. When far away and zoomed in, the entire scene is foreshortened. When close up and zoomed out, the reverse is true.

  • kuku swuro
    kuku swuro 2 months ago

    Real life MegaMind.

  • Kitten Sailor
    Kitten Sailor 2 months ago

    Shona thumbnail at 6:40.

  • Slayden Heddy
    Slayden Heddy 2 months ago


  • Anežka a Jiřík
    Anežka a Jiřík 2 months ago

    Sky is dome surface and horizon is infinitely flat, you opened my eyes!

  • Sudospective
    Sudospective 2 months ago

    2:43 "Hah, I watch Rick and Morty"

  • Nada
    Nada 2 months ago


  • Czarpos
    Czarpos 2 months ago

    2:36 my new wallpaper

  • Shayne Rushton
    Shayne Rushton 2 months ago

    He spends a lot of time trying to convince us that we see illusions. Not trying to fault this guy, but many of the examples in here aren't really the same as an angle shifting on the terminator of the moon. Instead, I think the terminator is just where it should be in relation to the sun rays hitting it from space, 93 million miles away, and it doesn't seem weird to me that the terminator can be almost parallel to the horizon, since the sun is far enough away, as is the moon, to see the sun hitting the moon from an angle above and to the left.
    I just wish he would have spent more time talking about this, because the portion of the terminator illusion is quite light, pun intended. That said, "I'll be back."

  • Jack McQuade
    Jack McQuade 2 months ago

    thats what happens when watching a baseball game on tv

  • Ishfaq Bhat
    Ishfaq Bhat 2 months ago

    If you feel you have answered this question, then you are deluded to the full. Your explanation is Bullshit. The sun and moon are sometimes at the same relative angle but but still the illuminated side of the moon faces at some other side. Also perspective makes things in the sky go down an look smaller. It cannot change reflected face angle.

  • Jon T
    Jon T 2 months ago

    2:00 i keep thinking he is bending his finger in a way no human can

  • VeganCodingNovice
    VeganCodingNovice 2 months ago

    get rect..... angled

  • LaLa LALA
    LaLa LALA 2 months ago

    Hey +Vsauce, do you think the parallax is related to why everything seems to move in slow motion when we fall?

  • Pål-Erik Borge Andersen

    is Michael short or was that door huge?

  • Fire Cat-TigerPlays
    Fire Cat-TigerPlays 2 months ago

    that music that he always plays is a music from a video game on the p.s.4. called speluenky COPY WRIGHT ALERT

  • Rich H
    Rich H 2 months ago

    yeah I want a Vsauce Mug

  • Person
    Person 2 months ago +1

    I live because of this thumbnail

  • Scott Richards
    Scott Richards 2 months ago +1

    I’ve been trying to psychologically condition myself to be able to see these (moon and sun, sun rays and the car one) normally, not sure I can to be honest

  • Average Mex
    Average Mex 2 months ago +1

    2:34 i always knew Michael was megamind in disguise

  • Jacob Burckhardt
    Jacob Burckhardt 2 months ago

    I hear "Number 9" around 7:15 on.

  • White Horse
    White Horse 2 months ago

    You have provided a lot of illusions but nothing that relates to the effect we see in the sky. Why not set up your cameras with three spheres and recreate the illusion - present a physical demonstration of the theory, instead of distracting with 101 other illusions that are nothing to do with the title? I saw nothing that demonstrated a mismatch between a shadow and the light source.

  • Holy Saint Of Allah
    Holy Saint Of Allah 2 months ago

    The bizarre bobbing up at camera cuts, repeating of last words for the next's too cringy. Dislike.

  • Ions Two
    Ions Two 2 months ago

    Your pinky bends back really far.

  • Steve W.
    Steve W. 3 months ago

    As soon as he defined 'terminator' I got a lot less excited.

  • TomasDinc
    TomasDinc 3 months ago

    What’s going on here? A straight line can’t have a changing slope... or can it?

    • The Noisy Spectator
      The Noisy Spectator 2 months ago

      According to Einstein, a beam of light always travels in a straight line.
      What curves is _the space_ it follows; "straightness" itself slopes when warped by gravity.
      Well, maybe that is not an answer to your question, but it is very interesting.

  • Kameron Waddell
    Kameron Waddell 3 months ago

    2:44 brainiac

  • The Comedic
    The Comedic 3 months ago

    Michael: "A terminator is --"

  • Pineapple On Pizza
    Pineapple On Pizza 3 months ago

    Its another way of spelling VsauceMichealHere

  • C A M
    C A M 3 months ago

    The best thumbnail ever

  • Ashnion The Salty
    Ashnion The Salty 3 months ago +1

    Thanks Michael, now I can’t trust my brain.

    • The Noisy Spectator
      The Noisy Spectator 2 months ago +1

      Hey, give your brain a break.
      The world is complicated, your brain is just trying to keep up with explaining it to you...

  • Leif Morten Undlien
    Leif Morten Undlien 3 months ago

    someone know the name of the song at det very end of this video?

    • Takeight
      Takeight 2 months ago +1

      Leif Morten Undlien It's "Lighting bug" by Tom Quick. Sadly the only way to hear it is by purchasing it.

  • Thijs V Alebeek
    Thijs V Alebeek 3 months ago

    I'll be back

  • Deyvson Moutinho Caliman

    We can't really compare the art from the Ancient World with the art from the Medieval Age and say that humans knew about perspective before. All forms of knowledge were diminished during the dark age. I wish this video spent more time with the terminator illusion, it's still not enough to convince a flat earther.

  • Ken Cross
    Ken Cross 3 months ago

    Okay, but what about the times when the shadow of the moon actually lines up with the direction of the sun visually, like a straight line? Shouldn't the illusion be consistent?

  • Matt Parzynski
    Matt Parzynski 3 months ago

    I thought Parallax was that dragon I killed in Skyrim?

  • Hannes C.
    Hannes C. 3 months ago

    9:05 yeah only problem this is a wrong picture it wasn t drawn by greekes at all it s a renaissance picture soo yeah
    Oh nevermind about 1 second further you say it