Thoughts of Astronomy While Tobogganing

moon_copyWe were tobogganing early this morning when this picture was taken–in fact it was so early we had the entire hill to ourselves. Because of the perfect cloud cover, not thick enough to obscure the sun but enough to take away its rays, the sun looked like the moon. After struggling to photograph it, the pale disk reminded me that because the moon and the sun are almost of the same apparent diameter in the earth sky, it implies that the sun’s real diameter is equal to that of the moon multiplied by the ratio of the earth-sun distance to that of the earth and the moon. I had the same unoriginal but very exciting thought last spring, and I did the math while sitting in church. I reasoned that if there is a God, I’m sure he likes astronomy, so he would not mind the transgression. Link here for a copy of what I wrote back then.

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