Why does the sun show up so a lot larger when it is on the horizon then when it is high in the sky?

That the Sun appears bigger when it is on the horizon is just an optical illusion. The brain thinks that objects on the horizon need to be farther away than objects overhead; since the Sun is the same apparent size in both areas, the brain concludes that the Sun is physically bigger as soon as it"s on the horizon, and also hence tricks you right into reasoning that the angular dimension is bigger than when it"s overhead. This phenomenon is recognized as the Ponzo Illusion, and occurs for the Moon too.

You are watching: Why does the sun appear larger than other stars

To convince yourself that this is, in reality, an optical illusion, put your head between your legs and also look at the Sun upside down as soon as it"s on the horizon: it must look the exact same as it does once overhead.

For more information about the "bigger Sun" and other expensive myths, inspect out Phil Plait"s short article (currently on the Moon and also not the Sun however it"s the exact same idea!).

This page was last updated on February 10, 2016.

About the Author

Kristine Spekkens

Kristine studies the dynamics of galaxies and also what they deserve to teach us around dark matter in the world. She acquired her Ph.D from Cornell in August 2005, was a Jansky post-doctoral fellow at Rutgers University from 2005-2008, and also is currently a faculty member at the Royal Military College of Canada and at Queen"s University.

Kristine"s websites: http://www.jiyuushikan.org.queensu.ca/people/Kristine_Spekkens/major.phphttp://www.rmc.ca/aca/phy/per/spekkens-k-eng.php

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