# Thread: how come SUN looks smaller than it's

1. Newbie
Join Date
Mar 2009
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5

## how come SUN looks smaller than it's

I googled picture of Solaris system, SUN is so big, and the earth is not too far from it, so in my mind from earth the sun must be very big looks like, the whole sky should have been ocuppied by SUN, like a big giant, but the truth is the SUN looks much smaller, not bigger than moon, why? thanks.

2. Although the Sun is very big - 1.4 million kilometers across - it is also 150 million kilometers away. This makes is appear fairly small in our sky. It just so happens that the Moon appears almost the same size in the sky. This is because, although the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, it is also 400 times closer. If the Sun were the size of basketball, we would be seeing it at the equivalent of 26 meters away. On this same scale, the Moon is equivalent to a coarse grain of sand viewed at less than 7 cm away.

3. I don't know what picture you were looking at, or maybe it was a drawing of our solar system, but note that many drawings are not to scale. So it could be that the image you were looking at was misleading you as to the size and distances involved.

4. The best example that I have of that I showed to my kids (because millions of kilometers is difficult for them to understand);

I took a soccer ball (aprox 1 foot across) and put it on the sidewalk 4 houses down (aprox 150' away), and told them that if the earth was the size of a piece of dust, thats how far away the sun would be. Then I got them to lay on the sidewalk and look at the soccer ball, to show them how small it looks. The interesting thing is that when you do that, the size of the ball and the sun are pretty close to the same.

5. Originally Posted by aurora
I don't know what picture you were looking at, or maybe it was a drawing of our solar system, but note that many drawings are not to scale. So it could be that the image you were looking at was misleading you as to the size and distances involved.
That's what I'm thinking too.

dennisliu, can you provide us a link to a picture so we can tell?

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite examples of the scale. Peoria scale model
It also provides you with the addresses and links to see the map view.
I'm not sure of the exact distances between locations, but imagine seeing that building from a half a mile away.

But; why are you looking at the sun? That's dangerous.

6. Newbie
Join Date
Mar 2009
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5
http://api.ning.com/files/WA7dI9PkWc...olarSystem.jpg

check this, the SUN is not far from earth.

I did not look SUN directly, I weared sun glasses.

7. Originally Posted by dennisliu
http://api.ning.com/files/WA7dI9PkWc...olarSystem.jpg

check this, the SUN is not far from earth.

I did not look SUN directly, I weared sun glasses.
That image is not to scale. It is misleading. For example, it makes it look like all the planets are spaced evenly as you go out from the sun. That is not true.

I suppose the artist was trying to show the differing colors of the planets. There is some other stuff in the painting as well, such as a nebula, which would not even be in our solar system.

Oh, do not stare at the sun, even with sun glasses. You can hurt your eyes.

8. Originally Posted by dennisliu
http://api.ning.com/files/WA7dI9PkWc...olarSystem.jpg

check this, the SUN is not far from earth.

I did not look SUN directly, I weared sun glasses.
That drawing is not to scale. In fact, there is nothing on the drawing that appears to be to scale -- neither the relative sizes of the Sun and planets nor the relative distances between the planets.

9. Originally Posted by dennisliu
http://api.ning.com/files/WA7dI9PkWc...olarSystem.jpg

check this, the SUN is not far from earth.
That picture has very little resemblance to reality. It's not even remotely to scale, either in sizes or distances.

Here is an image that depicts the planets in relative scale:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Planets2008.jpg

Note that the distances are *not* to scale. If Earth were represented by a single pixel, there would be nearly 11727 pixels between it and the center of the sun, which would itself be 109 pixels across. You could not fit a scale diagram on your computer screen and have the Earth and Sun be visible at the same time.

10. troybrophy.com Online scale model of solar system (but the image is very wide and doesn't work on all browsers).

Keep scrolling. Keep scrolling. You'll reach Earth eventually. (Or on initial page, click on Earth link.)

11. The link below shows the sizes of the planets and their distances to the sun, to scale. On a 72dpi monitor, the page is over half a mile wide!

Scroll slowly to the right and see how far it is till you reach Mercury... in my browser it took 25 clicks in the scroll-bar (which jumps a page at a time, I think).

Solar System Scale Model

EDIT: I spent so long making this post that 01101001 got in there before me! The two pages are different though as my link does not have shortcuts!

12. Order of Kilopi
Join Date
Nov 2003
Posts
6,197
Originally Posted by speedfreek
The link below shows the sizes of the planets and their distances to the sun, to scale. On a 72dpi monitor, the page is over half a mile wide!

Scroll slowly to the right and see how far it is till you reach Mercury... in my browser it took 25 clicks in the scroll-bar (which jumps a page at a time, I think).

Solar System Scale Model

EDIT: I spent so long making this post that 01101001 got in there before me! The two pages are different though as my link does not have shortcuts!
Here's another way of doing the scale:

http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2007/mat...olar_pizza.pdf

13. Here is both a scale and "true" color model. [Added: I probably should include a scaled Earth next to Jupiter at the bottom of the Solar system. ]

I like to show kids a softball (white, of course) and have it represent the Sun, then show them a BB as representative of the relative size of the Earth. I then point out that the BB is actually too large to be accurately compare to the size of the Sun.

14. Newbie
Join Date
Mar 2009
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Thanks guys, thanks for sharing.

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