Sun vs. Moon

sun, moon, astronomy, solar system, Eyewire, citizen science, satellite

What two shiny objects does everyone in the world get to share in common? The Sun and the Moon, of course! And thanks to the unique time in which we live, both of them happen to look about the same size in the sky, even though the reality is much different. Needless to say, the Sun and the Moon are powerful and beautiful icons in all our lives. But which is more your style? Do you go for the fiery, gigantic ball of plasma? Or do you go for the romantic, reflective satellite that we first explored 50 years ago? Starting at 11 AM EDT on 6/6 and going for 24 hours, we’re having a celestial showdown!


  • About 4.6 billion years old, probably born from a cloud of hydrogen and helium.
  • Soooo much bigger than Earth that we’re talking 12,000 times the surface area and 333,000 times the mass.
  • Photosphere temperature is about 5,499°C (9930°F)! That’s pretty dang warm.


  • Probably about 60 million years younger than the Sun, probably created from the impact of a Mars-sized object with the young Earth.
  • So much smaller than Earth that its surface gravity is about 16.5% that of our planet, making a 68 kg (150 lb.) human weigh about 11 kg (25 lb.)… whee!
  • Minimum surface temperature is about -173°C (-280°F), but with sunlight it can warm to a maximum of 116.85°C (242.33°F) at its equator.

For science!

Artwork by Daniela Gamba