The Sun as seen from 120 AU.

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Hi all

Currently, Voyager 1 is about 120 AU from the Sun. I wonder how big (or small) and bright would the Sun be seen from aboard this spacecraft. What approximate magnitude?.

Thanks in advance.
 
Hi all

Currently, Voyager 1 is about 120 AU from the Sun. I wonder how big (or small) and bright would the Sun be seen from aboard this spacecraft. What approximate magnitude?.

Thanks in advance.
Here, thanks to Caltech, is an artist's conception of the Sun from the vicinity of Sedna at 8 billion miles' (about 86 AU) distance:

sedna-art.jpg
 

Chronos

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It's still very bright, even at 120 au, at about magnitude -16.3 [the full moon from earth is about -12.7. So you would easily be able to read a newspaper. It would, however, be a virtual point source at that distance.
 
BadBrain and Chronos

Thanks a lot for your replies. That of being able to read a newspaper is a very interesting detail.

thanks again.
 
On a related topic, I heard that voyager was still accelerating, why? What causes it to accelerate further?
 
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The angular size θ of the Sun's disk is given by the formula:
[tex]
\sin \left( \frac{\theta}{2} \right) = \frac{R_S}{d}
[/tex]
where RS is the radius of the Sun, and d is the distance from it.

Because the distance is much larger than the Sun's radius, the sine is very small. Therefore, to a sufficient precision we may substitute:
[tex]
\sin \left( \frac{\theta}{2} \right) \approx \frac{\theta}{2}
[/tex]
provided that we measure the angle in radians. Nevertheless, we see that:
[tex]
\theta \approx \frac{2 R_S}{d} \propto \frac{1}{d}
[/tex]
the angular size is approximately inversely proportional to the distance. At 1 A.U. (the Earth), the angular size of the Sun is about 31' (arc minutes). Therefore, at 120 A.U. it is:
[tex]
\theta = \frac{31 '}{120} \times \frac{60 ''}{1 '} = 15.5 ''
[/tex]
that is about 15 arc seconds.
 

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