Twinkle, Twinkle little star is the line of a popular children’s song that parents and children all of the world sing every day, but have you ever stopped to wonder why stars twinkle at all? Most of us are aware that stars are giant gaseous stellar bodies that are billions of light years away from the earth. We know that we see the light years after it has been emitted from the star, but why does it seem as if it twinkles? The answer to this question is in the article below.
Why do Stars Twinkle?
When we look at stars in the night sky the light that they emit seems to fluctuate and change in brightness and intensity. However, most of the stars in the night sky actually shine a steady and constant light towards the earth. Stars appear to twinkle because when we view them from the earth we see the light after it has traveled through the earth’s atmosphere. The turbulent air in the earth’s atmosphere causes the light to bend (refract) and scatter. Our eyes see the light appearing and disappearing and interpret this as twinkling. Stars that are close to the horizon seem to twinkle more because there is more of the earth’s atmosphere, turbulent air, between you and the star. This means that the light refracts and scatters more before reaching you. The planets that we can see for the earth do not appear to twinkle because they are closer to the planet and therefore appear larger in the night sky. The light they emit still refracts through the atmosphere, but it is not seen because of their size.