why does the sun appear larger than other stars

Why does the sun appear so much larger when it is on the horizon then when it is high in the sky? That the Sun appears larger when it is on the horizon is just an optical illusion. The brain thinks that objects on the horizon should be farther away than objects overhead; since the Sun is the same apparent size in both places, the brain concludes that the Sun is physically bigger when it's on the horizon, and thus tricks you into thinking that the angular size is bigger than when it's overhead.


This phenomenon is known as the Ponzo Illusion, and occurs for the Moon as well. To convince yourself that this is, in fact, an optical illusion, put your head between your legs and look at the Sun upside down when it's on the horizon: it should look the same as it does when overhead. For more information about the "larger Sun" and other astronomical myths, check out Phil Plait's
(now on the Moon and not the Sun but it's the same idea! ).


This page was last updated on February 10, 2016. Because it is closer. The Sun is eight light-minutes away from Earth; the nearest stars are 4 light YEARS away. The sun looks larger then the other stars becaus e it is much MUCH closer. Our Sun is 93,000,000 miles away from us. This is pretty far right? Wrong. The closest star to our sun is a dim dwarf star known as Proxima Centauri which is about 4. 2 light years away from earth.


A Light year is the distance light travels in one year. Light speed is defined as 186,000 miles per second, so in 1 year light can travel about 6 trillion miles, or about 6,000,000,000,000 miles. The closest star is 4. 2 light years so that would be around 24(trillion),500(billion),000,000,000 miles to the nearest star. As opposed to 93(million),000,000 miles. This is why the sun looks much larger then other stars.

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