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Follow the sun!


Catch the sun!


A visual motif wherein a character who is about to attempt some superhuman feat reaches out towards the sun (or the moon, Earth, etc.) with their hand, as if to grasp it. The camera then switches to his point of view as the hand "grabs" the selected celestial body via Perspective Magic. This symbolizes the human will to seize things that are just too big for them.

Additionally, it is the source of the expressions "reach for the stars", "shoot for the moon" and "touch the sky."

Not to be confused with cases where characters literally grasp the sun.

Compare Got the Whole World In My Hand and Pan-Up-To-The-Sky Ending.

Examples of Grasp the Sun include:



Comic Books

  • In Supreme Power, Hyperion flies into orbit for the first time as a boy, and looks down at Earth. Light from the sun gets in his eyes, and he puts his hand in front of him, over Earth. He pulls his hand back... and then puts it back in front of the world, as if to clutch it.

Fan Fiction

  • Done in SinnerBlue:Dark's Misfortune by the eponymous protagonist.


  • Subtle use of this trope in Apollo 13: Tom Hanks' character Jim Lovell makes a habit of obliterating the moon by holding his thumb in front of it and closing one eye so it seems to disappear.
    • Later used in an Ironic Echo when he does the same trick with the Earth.
    • And in fact, in real life, Lovell was the first astronaut to mention being able to cover the Earth with his thumb.


  • One character in American Gods mimicks taking the moon, conjuring up a silver coin for the protagonist Shadow. When they meet again in a metaphysical place, she asks him for the coin back and literally puts it into the sky as its moon to light his way.
    • Mad Sweeney does the exact same thing, only with the sun into a golden coin, showing off for Shadow while drunk(er). By the time he realizes that the coin he plucked was not just any coin and tries to get it back, Shadow's already buried it with his recently deceased wife. This act leads, through separate means, to Sweeney's death and his wife's resurrection. Later on, Shadow learns to do this himself.
  • A famous bit of symbolism in The Great Gatsby involves the titular Anti-Hero reaching to grasp the light across the water (at Daisy's mansion).

Live Action TV


  • This theme comes up a lot in the Gloria Estefan's 1996 Olympic theme song, "Reach."
  • Also, Duran Duran's "Reach Up for the Sunrise".

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation


  • There's a series of PSAs encouraging children to go out and play that has them using the sun as a ball. One is set to "Why Does The Sun Shine?" as recorded by They Might Be Giants.