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- The sun is an average distance of 93 million miles away from Earth.
The sun is so far away from Earth that it would take eight minutes for that huge ball of gas to reach us traveling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. It would take an airliner more than 20 years to fly there. But a recent Instagram post suggests it’s actually much, much closer.
"The sun is not 93 million miles away as false science tells us," the Sept. 13 post says. "It is local and under a firmament dome, as the bible declares."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Some people who believe Earth is flat point to the Bible and argue that it’s covered in a dome called the firmament.
It’s well established that the Earth is a sphere — technically an irregularly shaped ellipsoid, according to the National Ocean Service — and it is 93 million miles away from the sun, according to NASA.
In 2016, astronomer Jagadheep Pandian broke down how we know the distance between the sun and Earth for Cornell University. Humans have been able to use radar to measure interplanetary distances since 1961, transmitting a radar signal at a planet, or the moon, and measuring how long it takes for that radar echo to return.
To measure how far we are from the sun, it’s necessary to first find the relative distances between Earth and other planets, Pandian wrote. Scientists then use what they know about interplanetary distances to scale the distance between the Earth and the sun.
Because Earth doesn’t orbit the sun in a perfect circle, its distance from the sun changes during the year. At their closest, Earth and the sun are 91.4 million miles apart, according to the California Institute of Technology. At their farthest, they’re 94.5 million miles away from each other. The average distance is about 93 million miles.
We rate claims that the sun isn’t that far away, and rather under a dome, Pants on Fire!
Correction Sept. 15, 2022: It would take the sun eight minutes to reach Earth traveling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. A previous version of this story cited an incorrect amount of time.
Clarification, Sept. 16, 2022: The Earth is a sphere that is 93 million miles away from the sun. A previous version of this story included an incorrect planetary reference.
Instagram post, Sept. 13, 2022
National Ocean Service, Is the Earth round?, visited May 18, 2021
NASA Science, How Big Is the Solar System?, Feb. 1, 2020
California Institute of Technology, How far away is the Sun?, visited Sept. 14, 2022
Cornell University, How do you measure the distance between Earth and the Sun? (Intermediate), updated Jan. 30, 2016
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