From the beginnings of humanity to the present day, from the time we are born to when we are older, raising our eyes to the sky and gazing at the stars fascinates and attracts us. We never get used to seeing a starry sky or the magic of an eclipse. This happens to us because we do not really understand the operation of everything that happens up there and there are many things that we do not know.
However, in the last 100 years we have advanced a lot in the research and knowledge of the stars and space, we have even travelled to the Moon! In these explorations we have been able to solve many of the questions that have always haunted us, questions such as for example, is the Sun or the Moon bigger?
What is the size of the Moon?
The Moon has a diameter of 3,476 km, more or less the distance between England and Syria, this means that it is about 4 times smaller than Earth, the planet of which it is the satellite. However, comparing the Moon with other satellites of the solar system such as Ganymede, corresponding to Jupiter, it is small in size.
The Moon is 386,000 km from the earth, which causes us to see it so large, because at space levels it is a close distance. Distance is what causes us to see a star more or less large and affects much more than its true size. Regarding the measurements of the Moon, a curious fact happens, and that is that it begins looking very large, however, as it ascends, it gets smaller. What really happens is an optical effect whereby when it is low we can compare it with known points, while when it is high we have no references and it seems small.
Why do they seem the same size to us?
When we travel by plane or we are on the roof of a tall building and we look down, the people walking down the street seem tiny to us, something similar is what happens to us when we compare the size of the Moon and the Sun from the Earth. Our satellite is 386,000 kilometres away from us, which means that in 3 days of space travel we can plant ourselves on its surface, however the Sun is at an average distance of 150 million kilometres, 389 times more than the Moon.
Thus, the perception that the Moon is as large or larger than the Sun is totally illusory, an optical effect caused by the distance from the Earth between one and the other. As we are further away we see it smaller, however, if they were next to each other we could contemplate how extremely large the Sun is.