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Why do stars twinkle?

2015-07-22 Vicigo

If you observe the sky at night to gaze for stars you have to look through the earth's atmosphere. Due to turbulences (e.g wind) and rapid temperature changes (due to pressure changes, boyancy etc.) in it, the refraction index of the air changes over time and space. Imagine that each small air parcel in the athmosphere is acting like a lense which is also moving, therefore the incoming light is going through thousands of these lenses an will be refracted differently. The observer (you, telescopes) will never see constant amount of light per area over time.

By looking closer the stars are also "moving", which is also caused by the change of refraction per time.



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