Astronomy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for astronomers and astrophysicists. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I select satellite imagery in Google maps and zoom out, the earth is shown in space. It shows light/dark regions correctly updated, but there’s an object between the earth and the sun. It looks too small to be the moon.

enter image description here

Is it real? What is it?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

That's the Moon alright, and it's definitely real and definitely there. If you go outside and look at the Sun right now, the Moon will be almost but not quite on top of it, though it's impossible to make out due to the Sun's glare. If it were any closer we would have had a solar eclipse around the time of the New Moon that took place 20 minutes ago. Two weeks from now at Full Moon, it'll be in even better alignment, though on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun this time, which will result in a total lunar eclipse. Mark your calendar!

share|improve this answer
Thanks, but isn’t the Moon and the Sun of similar size (solid angle) whne viewed from the Earth? – Ben Mar 31 '14 at 7:38
It is. Most of the sun's size in this picture is just glare. – David H Mar 31 '14 at 11:38
I see, thanks. . – Ben Apr 1 '14 at 8:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.