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What is the diameter of the Sun?

The Sun's diameter is 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles). But to most people, that still doesn't give them an appreciation of the Sun's size.

The Sun is ENORMOUS compared to other objects in the solar system! It is so massive that is accounts for 99.9% of all of the matter in the solar system. In fact, the Sun is so big that if it were hollow, you could fit over one million Earth's inside of it!

The way that the Sun's diameter is measured is by first taking a ngular diameter measurements and then translating them to linear diameter measurements. The angular diameter of the Sun, or more precisely of the photosphere, can be measured by using telescopes especially during total solar eclipses or by timing Mercury when it is in transit in front of the Sun. The first series of measurements were taken in the early 1700's by Jean Picard in Paris, France.

Submitted by Damien
(July 24,1997)



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