The twinkling stars turned out to be just the effect of the atmosphere.
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — On a clear night in a dark place, the stars seem to twinkle. One of the most famous nursery rhymes of all time is based on this idea as it is widely accepted.
Turns out, the expression ‘stars twinkling in the sky’ is a bit of a misnomer. Actually, stars don’t twinkle
Reported from Live Science, bstars don’t twinkle. The twinkling is actually a function of how we perceive things from Earth. Stars appear to us as tiny points of light in the night sky because they are so far away.
On a clear night, starlight has to travel a long way to reach the human eye, according to Ryan French, a solar physicist at University College London in the UK.
The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, which is more than 4 light years from Earth. The light from these distant stars is reflected by atmosphere Earth as it walks into our eyes, which is the main cause of its shimmering appearance.
“When this point of light reaches the atmosphere, it passes through a layer of vibrating air before it reaches our eyes, causing it to twinkle,” French says.
Therefore, it is the Earth’s atmosphere that causes the stars to appear to twinkle. Stars don’t blink at all in space, way above the atmosphere.
Why certain stars twinkle more than others
How much the stars appear to twinkle depends on various circumstances. The location of the stars in our field of vision is one variable.
According to French, stars near the horizon appear more twinkling because their light has to pass through more atmospheres to reach our view. This causes the stars to appear more twinkling.
Another factor is the weather. According to French, a humid night will also cause the air to become thicker, which will make the stars appear more twinkling.
Astronomers use these considerations to help them decide where to place the largest and most powerful telescopes on Earth. To minimize the amount of air between the star and the telescope, French explains that the observatory is located in an elevated, dry area.
Chile’s arid Atacama Desert, the volcanic highlands of Hawaii, and Spain’s Canary Islands are some ideal locations.
These areas serve as illustrations of places with good “vision,” as astronomers often say. Good vision is created by dry, calm, thin air, whereas thick air that causes a lot of wobbling or flickering is poor vision.
You may also notice that some of the stars seem to alternate between different colors as they twinkle as they gaze up at the night sky. A prime example is Sirius, which is the brightest star visible from Earth.
Starlight can change color as a result of the slight refraction effect of the atmosphere.
Some “stars” that don’t twinkle at all may also be visible. That’s because the object is actually a planet.
The objects of the sky appears to be twinkling due to the atmospheric effect. The light you see has been propelled by the atmosphere as it approaches the eye, so even if you were to gaze at a planet or moon through a telescope, they would still appear to be shimmering.