Twinkle, Twinkle little Star

Discussion of the astronomical and cosmological aspects of a universe of motion.
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Twinkle, Twinkle little Star

Post by bperet » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:12 pm

The other night I was in bed looking out the window at a bright star that was twinkling in the night sky. Then I noticed something odd... it had a sequence, bright, bright, bright, dim, bright, dim, then sort of random after that. The three bright flashes caught my eye. As I lay there, I saw it happen again, that same sequence. Several minutes later, it did it again. For some reason, it reminded me of one of those mirrored disco balls--and I got thinking.

What if... the stars aren't far, far away, but close, close nearby, and are nothing but asteroids reflecting sunlight, like a disco ball reflecting a spotlight? If the asteroid was irregularly shaped (as most asteroids are), a slow rotation would make it twinkle in the night sky, similar to the way several rotating satellites "blink" as they move in orbit. Because of the rotation and odd shape, the light reflected along our line of sight would vary in intensity--but would repeat as a long pattern, at least for a while (until the Earth's orbit moved to a different reflected ray). The planets, being spherical, would not do this, but reflect a constant magnitude of light our way.

I may run an experiment this winter, if I can get a clock drive for my telescope. I'll just point it at an identifiable, twinkling star and stick a photocell on the eyepiece and run it into my computer to record the light magnitude over time. Then look to see if there is a pattern. Brought up graphically, it should be fairly easy to identify a regular series.
Every dogma has its day...

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