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# How big does the sun look from the other planets in the solar system, pretending that the gas giants had a surface you could stand on and counting the nine planets that we grew up with?

Question #113320. Asked by darkpresence. (Mar 09 10 3:59 PM)

Zbeckabee

If you were standing on another planet in our Solar System, the size of the Sun's disk in the sky would be different than the size it looks from Earth.

See for scale:

http://www.burtonmackenzie.com/2009/02/sun-as-seen-from.html

Detail on my screen (approx.):

From Mercury -- 5.5 inches
Venus -- 3 inches
Earth -- 2 inches
Mars -- 1.5 inches
Neptune -- Dot
Uranus -- 1/8 inch
Saturn -- 1/4 inch
Jupiter -- 1/2 inch

From the perspective of lonely Neptune, our Sun just looks like a bright star. Pluto is not included in the diagram, but its visage of the Sun is the same as Neptune's: a bright star in the distance.

 Mar 09 10, 6:20 PM
Juggernaut314

Since "how big the soon looks" is a bit subjective, here's an answer in terms of arc-minutes:

On Earth, the sun appears to be 32 arc-minutes (that's 32/60 of 1 degree). This is equal to the angle formed by the two lines you could draw from your viewing location to each end of a diameter of the sun.

To find this manually, you can do a little bit of trigonometry. Let's assume the earth is always 93,000,000 miles away from the sun (it's not) and that the diameter of the sun is what we really see (thus ignoring any effects due to atmosphere) and is 864,938 miles. Let's label the following points:

A - point on earth
B - Center of Sun
C - Spot on sun's diameter such that angle ABC = 90 degrees

Angle CAB = Inverse sine (432,938/93,000,000)
Angle CAB = Inverse sine (.0046502)
Angle CAB = .26644 degrees

We actually need to double that angle to find the angle that we see the sun from, so the new result is:

.53288 degress, or approximately 32/60 degrees (32 arc-minutes).

Utilizing the following table (From http://idahoptv.org/ntti/nttilessons/lessons2000/lau4.html), you can determine the angular size from each of the planets by multiplying the AU distance for each planet by 93,000,000 and solving in the previous equation.

Mercury 0.39
Venus 0.72
Earth 1.00
Mars 1.52
Jupiter 5.20
Saturn 9.54
Uranus 19.14
Neptune 30.06
Pluto 39.53

I'll spare the math, but here's what I get:
Mercury - 1.37 degrees
Venus - .740 degrees or 44.4 arc minutes
Mars - .3506 degrees or 21.04 arc minutes
Jupiter - .1025 degrees or 6.149 arc minutes
Saturn - .05586 degrees or 3.351 arc minutes
Uranus - .02784 degrees or 1.670 arc minutes
Neptune - .0177 degrees or 1.064 arc minutes
Pluto - .0135 degrees or .8088 arc minutes or 48.5 arc seconds

 Mar 10 10, 1:52 PM

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