Questions that just pop #3


How do stars twinkle? Ha?Ha?

The other day  I was laying on my bed staring out to the night’s sky when I found a lone star twinkling. Mind me, I live in Cairo and my street is pretty busy with all these lorries, vans and buses filling up the sky with their bloody smoke so to see a star here was a miracle !!! Anyhow, my brain wondered all of a sudden “How stars twinkle and why?!”

So I set on a quest to know, by that reader I mean clicking on the first few google results I got :P Not that deep of a research though (A) and here is what I have found:

“Stars (except for the Sun) appear as tiny dots in the sky; as their light travels through the many layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, the light of the star is bent (refracted) many times and in random directions (light is bent when it hits a change in density – like a pocket of cold air or hot air). This random refraction results in the star winking out (it looks as though the star moves a bit, and our eye interprets this as twinkling).

Stars closer to the horizon appear to twinkle more than stars that are overhead – this is because the light of stars near the horizon has to travel through more air than the light of stars overhead and so is subject to more refraction. Also, planets do not usually twinkle, because they are so close to us; they appear big enough that the twinkling is not noticeable (except when the air is extremely turbulent). “

Viola! My question was answered and I quenched the thirst of my curiosity :D I hope reader that I have perhaps answered a question left unanswered, buried somewhere in your mind ;)

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