Why do stars change colour when they twinkle?
Why do stars change their colour constantly every second? red-blue-red-blue..............
This is because of scintillation ("Twinkling") as the light passes through the atmosphere of the Earth. As the air moves in and out, the starlight is refracted, often different colors in different directions. Because of this "chromatic abberation," stars can appear to change colors when they are twinkling strongly.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.
This page has been accessed 53739 times since September 22, 2002.
Last modified: November 6, 2002 11:20:56 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)