Why can't you see stars during the day? (Beginner)

I'm a teacher in a daycare. Each week we have a theme for are program. Last week it was the stars in the sky. This little boy asked me "why do stars glow at night and not during the day?" I did't know what to answer so maybe you can help me answer this question for the little boy.

Stars do glow during the day, but we can't see them because of the glare of sunlight. When the sun is up, the blue color in sunlight gets scattered all over the atmosphere, turning the sky the familiar bright blue color. This blue light is much brighter than the faint light coming from the stars, so it prevents us from seeing them.

If you were standing on the Moon, for instance, where there is no atmosphere, you would see the stars both day and night.

 

This page updated on June 27, 2015

About the Author

Dave Kornreich

Dave was the founder of Ask an Astronomer. He got his PhD from Cornell in 2001 and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Physical Science at Humboldt State University in California. There he runs his own version of Ask the Astronomer. He also helps us out with the odd cosmology question.

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