Questions tagged [atmospheric-effects]

Questions about the influences of Earth's atmosphere on astronomical observations.

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52
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5answers
14k views

Why is moon light not the same color as sunlight?

The light from the moon is light being reflected from the sun. The sun, in space, is white. But on Earth, when the light is filtered through an atmosphere, the light appears yellow. So then, why is ...
35
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2answers
8k views

Why doesn't the moon twinkle?

Stars twinkle because their light has to squeeze through several different layers of the Earth's atmosphere. So why doesn't the moon twinkle as well?
33
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1answer
2k views

How could a hobbyist astronomer determine apparent magnitude of a star?

Apparent magnitude is a rather complex way to determine the brightness of a star. Quoting the introduction text from the linked to Wikipedia page: The apparent magnitude (m) of a celestial body is ...
23
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2answers
1k views

Terrestrial Exoplanet Skies – I've Built a Visual Sky Chart. Is it Accurate?

I'm an artist (and science enthusiast) and I've been trying to find a comprehensive resource that would help me clearly identify likely sky colors (as perceived by human vision) for exoplanets that ...
22
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3answers
7k views

Why can't moon light (reflected sun light) turn the sky blue?

Does turning the colour of the sky blue need more luminous light? Does it depend on luminosity or some other factors are also responsible for this phenomenon? Why can't the moon light turn the sky ...
17
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1answer
1k views

How much clearer are stars in earths orbit?

As a child I remember my parents taking camping in California, and upon stepping out of the car I was awestruck at how thick the Milky Way galaxy was and at the number of stars everywhere. I've always ...
13
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2answers
3k views

Is Earth unique in its fairly clear atmosphere?

So, we have surface pictures from two alien planets, Venus (captured by the Venera 13), and Mars (captured by the rover). Both of these pictures appear to be very dusty. For Venus we see strong ...
13
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2answers
319 views

What was the first astronomical measurement which demonstrated that “the Earth is surrounded by vacuum”?

The question Who was the first to realize that the Earth is surrounded by vacuum? was closed because some users felt it was answered by answers to a different question in an different SE site: Who was ...
12
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1answer
329 views

How would astronomical seeing on Mars differ from that on Earth?

Astronomical seeing is the limiting factor for the resolution of all but the smallest Earthbound telescopes. Source Stunning advances in adaptive optics (along with it's predecessor speckle ...
10
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3answers
228 views

How would rainbows appear on other planets?

Are other planets capable of producing rainbows? How would those rainbows appear? Can rain, clouds or ice from elements other than water produce rainbows? Related: https://space.stackexchange.com/...
8
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1answer
167 views

Oldest Reference to Astronomical Seeing

I'm writing a paper on astronomical seeing. Sir Isaac Newton identified both the phenomenon and origin of astronomical seeing in his Opticks. He writes: If the Theory of making Telescopes could at ...
7
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1answer
160 views

Do radio telescopes see other stars better at night?

As you know, we don’t see stars with the naked eye during the day because of the visible glare of our Sun. As I understand our Sun emits radio frequency waves, too. Is there a radio ‘glare’ from the ...
7
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2answers
405 views

How large does refraction become in radioastronomy?

For atmospheric refraction of visible light, Wikipedia gives the order of 1 arc minute at 45° altitude above the horizon, and 5.3 arc minutes at 10°. This is caused by the dielectric polarizability of ...
7
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2answers
358 views

How will “modern equipment” allow the Royal Observatory to now avoid some of the effects of light pollution at Greenwich?

The article First Light: a new era for the Royal Observatory says (in part): 25 June 2018 The first modern, research-grade telescopes have just been installed at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, ...
6
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2answers
129 views

Why is blue light extincted more strongly than red?

We know that blue light suffers extinction more strongly than red (examples include ISM, atmosphere etc.), but why? Is it a property of the shorter wavelength itself? Can someone provide a conceptual ...
6
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2answers
244 views

Energetics of Titans Tholin haze

So, I've googled and wiki'd on this, but no clue, so I turn my question to the community: Given Titan's nice orange haze that is supposedly composed of Tholins and strangely coincides with its ...
6
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1answer
795 views

Is it possible to see Saturn from Titan's surface, day and night?

Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a thick atmosphere, similar to what our Earth's atmosphere was before life "appeared". It also orbits Saturn close enough to actually see it beautifully ...
6
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1answer
101 views

Do stars twinkle when seen from Mars' surface?

Mars' average atmospheric pressure is 0.006 atm (0.088 psi). Is that enough to make fixed stars on Mars' night sky twinkle? Do we know an air pressure or density limit for that?
5
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2answers
3k views

Does the earth's atmosphere act as a spherical lens and refract light from space?

If so by how much does it "spoil" the view of stars and galaxies etc. Is this error noticable, when compared to pictures taken from outer space.
5
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1answer
279 views

Would a red dwarf star resemble our own Sun at sunset to an observer on a nearby planet?

Suppose you're observing a red dwarf star at Noon from the surface of an Earth-like planet orbiting in the red dwarf's habitable zone, so that the red dwarf's luminosity is equal to our own Sun. Aside ...
5
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1answer
223 views

What is causing this strange shimmering pattern of light during a total solar eclipse?

Below this question was left a comment linking to the Smarter Every Day video Space Station Transiting 2017 ECLIPSE, My Brain Stopped Working - Smarter Every Day 175. At about ...
5
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1answer
176 views

Could spy satellites use laser guide stars (for adaptive optics)?

Are sodium lasers useful for Earth observing space telescopes/spy satellites?
5
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3answers
659 views

How many stars can be seen naked eye from outside the atmosphere? How dense is the “sky” from there?

When I was 20, I went to Naxos (Greece) with friends. I was driving my car during the night on the mount Zeus (1003 meters - 3,291 ft) listening Pink Floyd. Up there we stopped the car to take a walk,...
5
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1answer
65 views

Impact of Atmospheric Water vapour on Optical Observations

I would like to ask; how does Water Vapour in the atmosphere interfere with astronomical observations? Is it in the same manner as Carbon dioxide? What brought this to mind is the following: A ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Can you see city lights on the Moon from Earth?

This is the opposite of another question. That question is about whether you could see cities on Earth if you were standing on the Moon. Let's there are cities on the Moon and you're standing on the ...
4
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2answers
178 views

Why is only a narrow chunk of sky darkened in this amazing Curiosity solar eclipse GIF from Mars?

I found three NASA JPL images in the sequence PIA23133, PIA23134, and PIA23135. They were taken by the Curiosity Rover on Mars and show solar eclipses by Mars' two moons. Details of these images are ...
4
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1answer
289 views

Do the gases in the Earth's atmosphere affect the color of a lunar eclipse?

As the sun's rays pass through the Earth's atmosphere only the red light gets through. Is this the result of specific gases in the Earth's atmosphere filtering the red light? Does all of the nitrogen ...
4
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1answer
49 views

Effect of particulates on the visibility of stars?

I am looking for a (mathematical) relationship - either empirical or theoretical - which quantifies how the visibility of celestrial objects decreases with increasing amount of particulates in the air....
4
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1answer
330 views

Formula for sun's atmospheric refraction below the horizon

I have searched in Google and found interesting articles for atmospheric refraction influence on sun's elevation above the horizon (from 0° till 90°). eg. Bennett G.G. etc. I would like to know if ...
4
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0answers
64 views

When are wedge prisms used to correct chromatic effects of atmospheric refraction?

Atmospheric refraction (shown below) happens because Earth's atmosphere has an index of refraction that differs from unity. @MikeG's comment mentions that this refraction would have a chromatic ...
3
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2answers
385 views

Why is it that night has a almost a bluish tint to it instead of red?

From my understanding/been told, the color red has the ability to travel the farthest in our atmosphere, being the reason why we have red sunsets and such. But with this in mind, why is it that at ...
3
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2answers
135 views

What is meant by “there is no refraction at the zenith”?

Wikipedia states: Atmospheric refraction of the light from a star is zero in the zenith and other sources seem to agree. I don't see why this should be so. Consider a situation in which air gets ...
3
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1answer
155 views

What is tilt anisoplanatism for Laser-guide-star usage in adaptive optic systems?

How does tip-tilt mirrors correct such issue? What is the physical origin of the error?
3
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1answer
101 views

Does the summit of a small mountain offer better seeing?

I have a small amateur telescope, and would like to defeat the atmospheric seeing conditions as much as is possible. Fortuitously, I happen to live fairly close to this lovely patch of bare elevated ...
3
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2answers
56 views

Understanding energy loss in a telescope aperture due to atmospheric dispersion

I'm trying to understand energy losses due to atmospheric dispersion, given the plot below from the Keck telescope. For a typical seeing I'm told that there's 80% encircled energy in 1". The ...
3
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2answers
160 views

Which kinds of astronomical observations most need to avoid the Moon being up?

This comment to Did nobody in the Astronomy community think 12,000 new satellites in LEO might be a problem? links to Phys.org's New ESO study evaluates impact of satellite constellations on ...
3
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1answer
115 views

Scattered Intensity of Light vs Angles of Incidence and Emission

So I just derived an expression for the scattered intensity of light from an atmosphere with ideal isotopic scattering: $I/F=\frac{cos(i)}{4(cos(e)+cos(i))}$, where $I$ is intensity, $F$ is flux, $i$ ...
3
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1answer
79 views

How far can we detect lightning in radioastronomy?

The wikipedia article on whistlers has this information: Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft detected whistler-like activity in the vicinity of Jupiter known as "Jovian Whistlers", implying the ...
3
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1answer
58 views

Why would atmospheric absorption increase rather than decrease the antenna temperature in Penzias and Wilson's famous CMB observation?

The classic paper A MEASUREMENT OF EXCESS ANTENNA TEMPERATURE AT 4080 Mc/s begins: Measurements of the effective zenith noise temperature of the 20-foot horn-reflector antenna (Crawford, Hogg, and ...
3
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1answer
63 views

Would an extremely bright star produce same kind of shadow band effect as seen in solar eclipses just before totality?

This answer explains that the shimmering patterns seen on surfaces at the moment before totality of a solar eclipse are called shadow bands, and that the phenomenon is closely related to the twinkling ...
3
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0answers
91 views

Why do some stars twinkle more than others?

This is a child's question I failed to answer. When observing some stars with naked eye, some stars (e.g. Regulus) appeared to blink significantly more than others, but I did not have the patience to ...
2
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3answers
899 views

Can we hear something on Venus, Mars and Titan?

Mars, Venus and Titan have an atmosphere and we can theoretically step on them (and die quickly). So, as an example, let's say we can survive on these objects without a space suit. I say: “Hi” on any ...
2
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3answers
124 views

Source of red in earth's photographs

What is the red in this picture of earth? At first we thought it might be pollution, but Jupiter also has red. Picture source: https://education.seattlepi.com/primary-movements-motions-earth-4701....
2
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1answer
292 views

Are the darker blue/black areas in this picture what the atmosphere of Jupiter looks like without clouds?

This is a picture (mosaic?) of Jupiter's south pole taken by Juno (also shown below). It has gotten a lot of press, but I haven't seen anything, even in the scientific paper that accompanied its ...
2
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1answer
68 views

How do they know the TNT equivalent of the meteor explosion over Vermont?

I've seen several reports of this meteor explosion, below are two. Was there infrasound recordings of the pressure wave, or were weak, local seismic signals recorded, or it this just a ballpark ...
2
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2answers
62 views

What is the horizontal distance needed to observe an object just as badly as if it where in space at the zenith?

When I see an object in space (let's say the ISS) above my head, my line of sight traverses ~$100\; km$ of atmosphere. The vast majority of the extinction, absorption and turbulence happens closer to ...
2
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1answer
418 views

Under what situations can an aperture mask improve the resolution of a small/medium amateur telescope? Is this demonstrable mathematically?

@antlersoft's answer describes some of the challenges to seeing any details in the small disk of Mars in small amateur telescopes. In the case of reflecting telescopes, it mentions the use of either ...
2
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1answer
60 views

How could the polarizer in early coronagraphs make the Sun's corona more visible against the daytime sky?

Wikipedia's Coronagraph; Invention says: High Altitude Observatory's Mark IV Coronagraph on top of Mauna Loa, uses polarization to distinguish sky brightness from the image of the corona: both ...
2
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1answer
110 views

How long can afterglow last after a fireball?

I was watching the YouTube video Perseid Meteor Shower - Mojave Desert, California which looks East before sunrise, presumably in mid-August of 2016. I've made a GIF of a few seconds near the ...
2
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1answer
150 views

Long term temperature effects of an eclipse

I was surprised to see a very measurable difference in temperature at my home during the recent solar eclipse. The temperature was about 93 degrees fahrenheit but dropped to around 86 degrees. It ...