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Why do Stars Twinkle?

Updated on March 24, 2013

Stars are point sources of light.

You've surely wondered why stars twinkle in the night sky. That's why you're here in the first place.

Let's start by agreeing that stars are very far away - really far. Even very powerful telescopes can only see stars as a single dot of light.

Every star in the night sky is just a single ray of light. The exception is of course the sun which relatively nearer than other stars. That means the sun won't twinkle even if it's a star.

So how does a star twinkle?

As what I've stated above, stars are single point of light.

Now, the atmosphere is not a very clean area as you might think. It is littered with pollutants, dust particles, paper airplane and other stuffs. Okay, the paper airplane is a joke.

These particles may cover the single ray of light of a star. These dust particles are floating around up there in the air and they can obscure a ray of light from any star.

When that happens, the light from that star does not reach your eyes and it appears to disappear. The dust then move forwards and you can now see the star again. This happens really fast and give the illusion that the star is twinkling.

What's your proof for that explanation?

Don't challenge me, I have many proofs!

  1. The sun does not twinkle. It does not because it is near to us and it is not a point source of light. Other stars are very far away and appear as a dot of light.
  2. Planets don't twinkle. Can you locate planet Venus in the night sky? Does it twinkle? No! That's because it is near to us and is no just a dot of light in the night sky. If you can look at Venus using a pair of binoculars, you will see a disc of light, not a point.
  3. Hold your hand above so that it covers the lamp in your room. Now move it to the left then to the right quickly then back and forth. The lamp then appears to twinkle. That's the same effect that happens with the stars.

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