Twinkle, twinkle, little star

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In summary, the conversation discusses the attempt to photograph asteroid YU55 and the presence of twinkling stars in the photos due to atmospheric turbulence. The correlation between exposure time and the appearance of twinkling is also mentioned, and a reference book is recommended for further reading. The conversation also touches on the difference between stars and planets in terms of twinkling and provides a link to a website discussing the topic. Another website with more accurate information is suggested for those interested in learning more about the phenomenon.
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Andy Resnick

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Not sure if this is the best subforum, but here goes:

I tried to photograph YU55 when it flew by, and have been combing through a pair of photos, looking for a dot in one and a blank spot in the other. So far there have been at least 5 instances where something appeared in one photo only, but checking the locations with google sky and SIMBAD, each location indeed has a faint (magnitude 10+) star present.

Each photo was taken with a 1.3 second exposure time, which I had thought was sufficiently long to average out any atmospheric turbulence (the twinkle). My reference text, Roggemann and Welsh "Imaging through turbulence", has a long chapter devoted to atmospheric turbulence in this specific context, and while they have a detailed discussion about the spatial extent- the correlation length as compared to the entrance pupil- there does not appear to be a similar discussion about timescales: short-time imaging gives speckle, long-time imaging gives uniform blur, but I can't find a derivation about the correlation time (which divides the two regimes).

I'd appreciate any pointers, references, etc. on this, thanks.
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  • #2
If atmospheric turbulance is why stars twinkle, why don't planets twinkle? Why don't artificial Earth satellites twinkle?
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They aren't point sources. Plus, satellites move pretty fast (I've not looked for a geosynchronous satellite).
  • #4
Here is an interesting re-examination of star twinkle. It discusses some photography aspects as well. He is not an official authoritative source, but his insights may give you some means to work on the photo problem..." [Broken]
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What is the origin of the nursery rhyme "Twinkle, twinkle, little star"?

The lyrics for "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" were originally written as a poem by Jane Taylor in 1806. The melody was adapted from a French children's song called "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman".

What is the meaning behind the lyrics of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star"?

The lyrics of the nursery rhyme use imagery of stars to represent the wonder and curiosity of a child's mind, and the desire to understand the world around them. It also conveys a sense of comfort and reassurance, as the star is a source of light and guidance in the darkness.

What is the scientific explanation for why stars twinkle?

The twinkling effect of stars is caused by the Earth's atmosphere. As light from a star enters the atmosphere, it is refracted by the different layers of air, which creates the appearance of twinkling. The movement of air pockets in the atmosphere also contributes to the twinkling effect.

Are all stars visible in the night sky?

No, not all stars are visible to the naked eye. There are billions of stars in our galaxy, but only a small portion of them are visible from Earth. Factors such as distance, brightness, and atmospheric conditions determine which stars we can see.

Can you see the same stars from different parts of the world?

Yes, for the most part, the stars in the night sky are visible from all parts of the world. However, the position and visibility of constellations may vary depending on the observer's location on Earth. For example, the North Star is only visible in the northern hemisphere, while the Southern Cross can only be seen in the southern hemisphere.

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