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Why do stars twinkle?

Why do stars twinkle?

Imagine a summer warm night and clear sky covered with thousands of blinking star diamonds. Very romantic and beautiful, but do you know why they actually blink? It happens because the Earthly atmosphere is warmed-up inhomogeneously.


Warm and cold air has different density, that's why the deflection angle of the light is also different when it is going through warm or cold atmospheric layers. Airflows are constantly moving and mixing, thus combination of cold and warm layers being always changed. As a result, a star may seem very changeable – first it may be bright and the next moment obscure. Sometimes it may even seem that a star is twitching. When viewed at high magnification a star may seem to change its shape and color.

Stars twinkle a lot right after the sunset, because a great number of warm airflows rise up into the atmosphere from the earthly surface that is warmed-up during the daytime.

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13 Comments
Betty Rader
Betty Rader
Star light, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might!
4
Sep 27, 2015 11:52PM
Terry E Maxfield
Terry E Maxfield
If so, why don't planets twinkle?
0
Sep 28, 2015 4:47PM
jsnjmoore
They do, if you look at them with the naked eye. For example, Mars looks like a red star and it seems as if it twinkles.
1
Sep 28, 2015 8:22PM
Bill Fultz
Really? All my life I thought the imaginary god was "up there" turning the master light switch on and off to mess with our heads. LOL
1
Sep 28, 2015 9:58PM
Vickie S. Rosker
Vickie S. Rosker
Thanks =)
0
Sep 28, 2015 10:02PM
Stewart Whisman
It is or might not be my knowledge but some stars burn out. I believe those to be planets reaching their end of existance. But I also believe that is where you come up with shooting stars. The ones that burn out I believe explode do to gas and heat coming from within the planet.Now you can check all this out cause heaven knows,I am no astrologer!
0
Sep 28, 2015 11:13PM
Belinda Garza
Belinda Garza
Interesting facts; I always thought STARS twinkle because they are SUNS like our Sun twinkle. Pause (like a heart beat) So thank you!! :)
0
Sep 29, 2015 3:16AM
Tom Young
Twinkle Twinkle little star.....
0
Sep 29, 2015 3:21AM
Martin Weeks
Martin Weeks
They also twincle because the large majority of stars we can see are pulsars, or other types of "flashing" stars. They pulse because they are rotating at a rapid pace and emitting huge amounts of radiation in the form of light.
0
Sep 29, 2015 5:39AM
Buck Burchard
Stewart, it is stars that are exhausting their energy. Not planets. Also planets do not explode. Shooting stars are bits of matter that make up the tails of comets. The earth passes through the debris.
1
Sep 29, 2015 5:52PM
Bo Bugger
Bo Bugger
Thank you Martin Weeks.
0
Oct 2, 2015 12:39AM
Carlos Ramirez
Good question Terry ...l like to know also
0
Jul 3, 2016 12:14PM
Dee East
Beeautiful stars
0
Jun 25, 2017 10:16PM

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