FACT CHECK: No, The Sun And The Moon Are Not The Same Size
A post shared on Facebook claims the sun and moon are the same size.
The claim is inaccurate. The Sun is significantly larger than the moon, but their angular size is about the same, multiple experts told Check Your Fact via email.
The U.S. is in a space race with China as both countries seek travel to the moon again, according to USA Today. The U.S. has not had astronauts on the moon since the 1972 Apollo mission, the outlet reported.
A Facebook post claims the sun and moon are the same size. The post shows an image of the sun and moon with a large chunk of text above it.
The text reads, “They say the sun is 400 times larger than the moon and that it only appears to be the same size as the moon because, miraculously, it is 400 times further away. Occam’s razor states the simplest explanation is usually the best one; they are of equal size and distance from us, and both reside within our local system.”
The claim is inaccurate, however. The Sun is about 400 times bigger than the Moon and about 400 times farther away, according to NASA. (RELATED: No, Lauren Boebert Did Not Say The Moon Is ‘More Useful’ Than The Sun)
“The sun is about 400 times larger in diameter than the moon. In the sky they appear to have nearly the same angular size, but only because the sun is about 400 times farther from the earth than is the moon,” said University of British Columbia astronomy professor Paul Hickson in an email to Check Your Fact.
University of Oregon astronomy lecturer Scott Fisher also confirmed the sun being about 400 times farther away and 400 times larger than the moon to Check Your Fact via email. He also further explained angular size.
“An easy way to see this in action is to take a quarter and hold it close to your eye…. Note how much of your vision is covered by the coin. Then, move the quarter to arm’s length…. Look how much less is covered!” Fisher said. “We know the quarter stayed the same size, but its angular size changed as it moved farther away from your eye. This is the same thing we are seeing with the Sun and the Moon.”
University of British Columbia astronomy professor Jaymie Matthews, too, told Check Your Fact via email that the sun is significantly larger than the moon.
“The Sun is 100 times the diameter of the Earth. The Moon is 1/4 the Earth diameter,” Matthews said. “But they are the same size in ANGLE as seen from the Earth. That is why we have solar eclipses.”