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Eclipse: The Moon and the Sun seem to have a similar size seen from Earth

During a solar eclipse, the Moon is placed in front of the Sun, which partially or totally obscures the image of the Sun from the Earth.

According to astronomers’ calculations, the next total solar eclipse will take place this summer, more precisely on July 2nd, but will only be visible in Chile, Argentina and the South Pacific. Whether partial, total or annular, during a solar eclipse, the Moon and the Sun seem to be the same size seen from Earth, the first covering the image of the second.

Nevertheless, we know that the Moon is much smaller than the Sun: its diameter, 3,474.2 km, is 400 times smaller than that of the Sun, which is 1.391 million km. Why do we have the impression that the Moon and the Sun are perfectly superimposed on a total solar eclipse?

Fatoumata Kebe, a doctor of astronomy at the Paris Observatory, told Business Insider France that it is simply “a question of distance from us who are observers from Earth. my notebook and just putting them at a distance from each other, we are going to believe that the two objects are the same size.In the sky, with the Moon and the Sun, that’s exactly what happens”. The author of the book “The Moon is a novel”, published by Slatkine & Cie, added: “It is really a perfect geometry and exact figure, because the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but 400 times closer to the Earth than the Sun is”. Our only natural satellite is located 380,000 kilometers from us, while the Sun is 150 million kilometers away.

To know more about the formation scenario of the Earth-Moon system would enable us to understand why and how the Earth and the Moon are thus placed in the sky and if we could have had a second satellite. Remember that the Earth is the only planet in the Solar System to have only one satellite. For now, the hypothesis is that the Moon formed as a result of a collision between the Earth and an impactor named “Theia” which was the size of Mars there are about 4.5 billion years.

In her book, the scientist also proposes a fun way to look at the next solar eclipse, using two sheets of cardboard placed on the ground: “We position the first on the ground, perpendicular to the direction of the Sun and after pierce the second of a tiny hole, place it above the first, and notice the appearance of an image of the Sun on the first leaf as you move away the second leaf. which takes place in the sky is visible in a smaller image on the sheet.”

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