A star appears twinkling in the sky due to change in refractive index of air with temperature. Explain it.

Dear student,

Twinkling of stars is due to atmospheric refraction of star light. The star light after entering the earth's atmosphere undergoes refraction in a continuous manner before it reaches the Earth. The atmospheric refraction is due to change in the refractive index at different level in atmosphere. The star light bends towards the normal, the apparent position is different from the actual position of star. Since atmosphere is not stationary and keeps changing. As path of rays of light coming from star varies slightly then the apparent position of star also varies slightly and the amount of light entering the eye flickers. Sometimes, it is brighter and sometimes the star seems fainter. In this way, stars twinkle.



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