Importance of Observation That Stars Don't Twinkle Outside the Earth's Atmosphere

by Walter Cunningham, Leona Marshall Libby


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A discussion of the observation that stars seen by the human eye from Apollo 7 (and 8) show no obvious time variations of their visible light intensity. Lack of star twinkling is of prime importance to the lunar astronomical observatory. Search for and study of star twinkling from a moon-based observatory could offer a new method for determining distances to stars and provide new information regarding quasars. Another aspect of the lack of observation of visible twinkling is that it rules out random laser action in stellar atmospheres and gaseous nebulosities for time variations from tenths of seconds up to several minutes. The report includes a list of the 37 stars used for astronaut navigation.

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