Sitting here in the fifth floor office at Delta Res in London, I have the right to look out over 4 miles of suburbia at the lights of Heathrow in the distance. Now I have constantly wondered this (and I was reminded simply now) - why carry out the lights in the distance appear to twinkle?I have assorted theories: motion of air masses leading to refractivity, trees or objects relocating in the wind (though that wouldn"t explain the lights on the control tower shimmering slightly), some effect because of the light flickering subtly... anyone have a definite explanation?Cheers,Toni P.S. And why perform stars twinkle?
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DocLightningPosts: 22224Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

RE: Why Do Distant Lights Twinkle?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:23 am

Quoting Metroliner (Thread starter):I have actually miscellaneous theories: activity of air masses resulting in refraction, trees or objects relocating in the wind (though that wouldn"t explain the lights on the control tower shimmering slightly),You have your 2 answers. From an plane, many type of lights on the ground seem to twinkle bereason they are reduced than neighboring trees. But as soon as stationary, it"s movement of air masses bring about refractivity, bending the light ameans from you and then ago at you.Stars twinkle for the exact same factor. Light travels more quickly in thinner air than in thicker air (although the difference is minute). Light obviously travels fastest in a vacuum (at the rate of light). As masses of air of various thickness move around, it renders the star twinkle and also flicker. In reality, it"s the precise exact same impact if you put stars on the bottom of a wavy pool.

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-Doc Lightning-"The sky calls to us. If we carry out not damage ourselves, we will certainly at some point venture to the stars."-Carl Sagan
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rolypolymanPosts: 85Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:53 pm

RE: Why Do Distant Lights Twinkle?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:24 am

The air is constantly in activity, no matter how calm it appears, and also warmth is always constantly being respread in the vertical in the form of thermals and also convective currental fees, even if weak. All you need is a thickness (temperature) gradient to reason refractivity. All of those little thermals and also curleas have actually slightly different density throughout their structure, and also once you include them up over many type of miles, and also reason the thermals to constantly vary and readjust, the path taken by light is always transforming.
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metroliner
Topic Author
Posts: 846Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:35 am

RE: Why Do Distant Lights Twinkle?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:35 am

Wow, many thanks for the quick answers! It was a lovely clear morning for wandering roughly stargazing...
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Maverick623Posts: 4727Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Why Do Distant Lights Twinkle?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:58 am

Quoting Metroliner (Threview starter):movement of air masses leading to refractionBingo.
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GoldenshieldPosts: 5033Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Why Do Distant Lights Twinkle?

Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:09 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 1): In fact, it"s the precise same impact if you put stars on the bottom of a wavy pool.

See more: Why Does My Dog Eat The Wall, Why Do Dogs Make Holes In The Wall

When was the last time you put a star in a pool?

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