spaceSpace and Physics

Here's What The Sun Looks Like From Every Planet In Our Solar System


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


The Sun, as seen from one of the moons of Uranus. Ron Miller

Our Solar System is a seriously beautiful place. Whether it’s the pockmarked volcanic surface of Mercury, the dusty crimson plains of Mars, the beautiful rings of Saturn, or even the blues and viridians of our own world, it’s a diverse place full of remarkable sights and natural wonders.

We’d be nowhere without the Sun, mind you, and a series of truly stunning visualizations of our local star – as seen from each planet, and poor demoted Pluto – by artist and illustrator Ron Miller serve to remind you of this fact. He’s spent more than 40 years illustrating the dark realms of space, both near and far, and has come up with the most realistic depictions of the Sun as seen from these far-flung worlds as possible.


“I've taken care in not only making sure the Sun is depicted realistically, but also the surfaces of the planets and satellites as well,” Miller told IFLScience.

Despite the fact that Pluto is, at its most distant point, 7.5 billion kilometers (roughly 4.7 billion miles) away from Earth, the Sun still looks particularly bright. “While the Sun is smaller, it is still an immensely brilliant source of light,” Miller added. “The light levels on the surfaces around you [on Pluto] would be dusk-like, but the sun itself would still be a very bright object – just a small one.”

Thanks to the laws of physics, the brightness of the Sun is equivalent to the square of the relative distance from it. So if you are now half as close to the Sun as you originally were, the apparent brightness would be a quarter of what it originally was. (1/2)2 = 1/4, see?

This means that the brightness of the Sun drops off dramatically the further away you get from the Sun. The fact that even by the time you get to Pluto it’s still bright is a remarkable testament to the sheer power of our nearest thermonuclear stellar furnace.



Mercury, which is 58 million kilometers (36 million miles) from the Sun


Venus, which is 108 million kilometers (67 million miles) from the Sun. As depicted here, the planet is covered in pancake volcanism and a suffocating, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere


Earth, which is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) from the Sun. If you've ever seen a solar eclipse, this sight will be very familiar to you


Mars, which is 228 million kilometers (142 million miles) from the Sun



Jupiter (seen from the moon of Europa), which is 779 million kilometers (484 million miles) from the Sun


Saturn, which is 1.43 billion kilometers (889 million miles) from the Sun


Uranus (seen from the moon of Ariel) which is 2.88 billion kilometers (1.79 billion miles) from the Sun


Neptune (seen from the moon of Triton), which is 4.5 billion kilometers (2.8 billion miles) from the Sun. Cryovolcanic geysers cloud the horizon



Pluto, which has a highly elliptical orbit, is an average of 5.91 billion kilometers (3.67 billion miles) from the Sun

All images in text: Ron Miller


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