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Why do stars twinkle?



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The change in optical density of air due to the different atmospheric layer causes  twinkling of stars.

  • The twinkling of stars occurs due to atmospheric refraction of star's light.
  • The Optical Density of Air varies continuously in the different layers of the atmosphere.
  • Due to the varying optical densities of air, starlight is refracted multiple times through the atmosphere before it reaches our eyes.
  • As air in the atmosphere moves, this refracted light also shifts, causing shifts in the image of the stars that we see.
  • Hence, the image of the stars in our eyes changes continuously and stars appear to twinkle .

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Maninder Singh

CA Maninder Singh is a Chartered Accountant for the past 13 years and a teacher from the past 17 years. He teaches Science, Economics, Accounting and English at Teachoo