Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brain Wrinklies - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Another Saturday is here, and I've enjoyed the company of the Science Channel.  As I'm doing my thing around the house, my mind is being blown away by a show about telescopes, specifically a large binocular telescope.

I love shows about the universe.  I'm sure I've geeked out about this already.  But for me, it makes me feel like the tiniest little speck, and I am in awe of all the amazing things that I will never see in my lifetime.  I think I'm lucky enough to be privy to the pictures they show on the shows themselves.

But I wanted to geek out a little bit about one specific fact I just learned.  Forgive me if any of you scientists are like, "Sheesh! I knew that already."  But my brain seriously grew another wrinkle.

twinkle twinkle
Stars themselves don't actually twinkle!  They only appear to twinkle to us!

Okay, so, if I understood the explanation correctly, the twinkling is caused by pockets of hot air, or turbulence.  We know that light travels fast.  But as the light shines towards the earth and our sights, it will travel through pockets of hot air, making the light waver a little bit.  Thus, twinkling!

Seriously, I never knew that!

I love looking up at the stars.  Though I've lived in cities for the majority of my life, I've had the pleasure of the stars company.

In Los Angeles, my neighborhood wasn't overly polluted with light, so I was able to see the stars as I stood in my yard.

In Santa Cruz, a small oceanside town, having the campus on a mountain top and living so close to the ocean aided in looking at the stars.

In Boston, I unfortunately don't have the same kind of view, living in an apartment complex located in a heavily populated area.  But there are so many places I could easily travel to if I wanted to see the twinkling.

Now, I feel like I will have a whole new appreciation of those heavenly bodies star gazing. 

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