Did You Know?


It takes about 8 minutes for sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth.

It takes about 8 minutes for sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth.
It takes about 8 minutes for sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth.

Here’s a question… how long does it take sunlight to reach Earth? This sounds like a strange question, but think about it. Sunlight travels at the speed of light. Photons emitted from the surface of the Sun need to travel across the vacuum of space to reach our eyes.

The short answer is that it takes sunlight an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel from the Sun to the Earth.

If the Sun suddenly disappeared from the Universe (not that this could actually happen, don’t panic), it would take a little more than 8 minutes before you realized it was time to put on a sweater.

Here’s the math. We orbit the Sun at a distance of about 150 million km. Light moves at 300,000 kilometers/second. Divide these and you get 500 seconds, or 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

This is an average number. Remember, the Earth follows an elliptical orbit around the Sun, ranging from 147 million to 152 million km. At its closest point, sunlight only takes 490 seconds to reach Earth. And then at the most distant point, it takes 507 seconds for sunlight to make the journey.


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