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Why do stars twinkle? – Astronomical Scintillation


Why do stars twinkle? – Astronomical Scintillation :

Our galaxy is filled with wonders. Stars are part of kid’s imagination. Ever wondered gazing at the stars at night? How far do they exist? Why do they twinkle? There are so many questions. Are they actually twinkling or is it your eyes tricking you?Why do stars twinkle?

Why do stars twinkle?Actually, when you look into the sky, you can see the stars twinkle. It is not any optical illusion but it is about the Earth’s atmosphere that is turbulent in nature. We know that the Earth’s atmosphere varies

Actually, when you look into the sky, you can see the stars twinkle. It is not any optical illusion but it is about the Earth’s atmosphere that is turbulent in nature. We know that the Earth’s atmosphere varies in both temperature and density as it stretches high into the air. Since the light from stars pass through the atmosphere, there is disturbance. The ever-changing Earth’s atmosphere makes light from distant stars get distracted when reaching our eyes. This is the reason why stars seem to twinkle. Scientists call this phenomenon as astronomical scintillation.How astronomical scintillation occurs?

How astronomical scintillation occurs?Scientifically speaking, when the light travels through the Earth’s atmosphere, it gets refracted. Since this refraction takes place in different directions at constant intervals, our eyes might not be able to grasp it as it is. Our eyes slid onto a speck of light from one star for a fraction of

Scientifically speaking, when the light travels through the Earth’s atmosphere, it gets refracted. Since this refraction takes place in different directions at constant intervals, our eyes might not be able to grasp it as it is. Our eyes slid onto a speck of light from one star for a fraction of second but then may appear from a different place. This forms refractive patterns and our eyes interpret it as twinkling.What is interesting with the stars twinkling is that even though all heavenly bodies show astronomical scintillation to some extent, it is only the stars that appear to twinkle. Planets rarely appear to be twinkling. This is actually because of their closeness to Earth. Since they appear larger than stars, more amount of light is reflected by planets and this does not affect much of the Earth’s atmosphere disturbance.

What is interesting with the stars twinkling is that even though all heavenly bodies show astronomical scintillation to some extent, it is only the stars that appear to twinkle. Planets rarely appear to be twinkling. This is actually because of their closeness to Earth. Since they appear larger than stars, more amount of light is reflected by planets and this does not affect much of the Earth’s atmosphere disturbance.How Astronomers tackle astronomical scintillation

How Astronomers tackle astronomical scintillation Even though twinkling of stars can be amusing, astronomers may seem it frustrating. To tackle the problem, they use advanced space-based telescopes. The Hubble telescope is one kind that helps minimize the effects of Earth’s atmosphere. These telescopes feature advanced adaptive optics that has tiny mirrors to adjust to changing atmospheric conditions, thus minimizing astronomic scintillation.

Even though twinkling of stars can be amusing, astronomers may seem it frustrating. To tackle the problem, they use advanced space-based telescopes. The Hubble telescope is one kind that helps minimize the effects of Earth’s atmosphere. These telescopes feature advanced adaptive optics that has tiny mirrors to adjust to changing atmospheric conditions, thus minimizing astronomic scintillation.

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