Square degree


A square degree (deg2) is a non-SI unit measure of solid angle. Other denotations include sq. deg. and (°)2. Just as degrees are used to measure parts of a circle, square degrees are used to measure parts of a sphere. Analogous to one degree being equal to π/180 radians, a square degree is equal to (π/180)2 steradians (sr), or about 1/3283 sr or about 3.046×10−4 sr.

Square degree
Unit ofSolid angle
1 deg2 in ...... is equal to ...
   SI units   3.04617×10−4 sr

The whole sphere has a solid angle of 4πsr which is approximately 41253 deg2:


  • The full moon covers only about 0.2 deg2 of the sky when viewed from the surface of the Earth. The Moon is only a half degree across (i.e. a circular diameter of roughly 0.5°), so the moon's disk covers a circular area of: π(0.5°/2)2, or 0.2 square degrees. The moon varies from 0.188 to 0.244 deg2 depending on its distance from the Earth.
  • Viewed from Earth, the Sun is roughly half a degree across (the same as the full moon) and covers only 0.2 deg2 as well.
  • It would take 210100 times the full moon (or the Sun) to cover the entire celestial sphere.
  • Conversely, an average full moon (or the Sun) covers a 2 / 210100 fraction, or less than 1/1000 of a percent (0.00000952381) of the celestial hemisphere, or above-the-horizon sky.
  • Assuming the Earth to be a sphere with a surface area of 510 million km2, the area of Northern Ireland (14130 km2) represents a solid angle of 1.14 deg2, Connecticut (14357 km2) represents a solid angle of 1.16 deg2, Equatorial Guinea (28050 km2) represents a solid angle of 2 deg2.
  • The largest constellation, Hydra, covers a solid angle of 1303 deg2, whereas the smallest, Crux, covers only 68 deg2.[1]

See also



  1. ^ "RASC Calgary Centre - The Constellations". calgary.rasc.ca. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  • "Square Degrees - the Area of something on the sky". The RASC Calgary Centre. 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2022-01-21.