Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obviously to err is human...

In regard to yesterday's post, Blogger Robert B Schmunk writes:


The image you posted on your blog on Wednesday is obviously not a real photo. The moon in the image is about 15 times wider than the sun. But when seen from the surface of Earth, the moon and the sun subtend almost exactly the same angular distance. That they are the same apparent width is why solar eclipses are so darned interesting, with the "diamond necklace" effect when they line up perfectly. Some Googling reveals that the image is a piece of art done by a German named Inga Nielsen. Her homepage is at and the image is in her gallery at There's also a piece about it on the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day at about this.

Here is the text from the NASA site, that appeared on June 20, 2006 :

Illustration Credit & Copyright: Inga Nielsen
Explanation: Is this a picture of a sunset from Earth's North Pole? Regardless of urban legends circulating the Internet, the answer is no. The above scene was drawn to be an imaginary celestial place that would be calm and peaceful, and therefore titled Hideaway. The scene could not exist anywhere on the Earth because from the Earth, the Moon and the Sun always have nearly the same angular size. This is particularly apparent, for example, during solar eclipses. Still, the scene drawn is quite striking, and the crescent part of the "moon" shown is approximately accurate given the location of the parent star. In reality, the North Pole of Earth looks different. Starting earlier this month, the North Pole even has a web camera returning near-live pictures

PS Here's a link to bookmark for the Astronomy Picture of the Day, provided by Mary Birchard: