Astronomy: The Twinkle Belt

No phenomenon of nature is too small to escape the curiosity of modern science, not even the twinkle of distant little stars. Astronomers call it scintillation. But putting a name to the faint flicker has hardly served to explain it.

For many years astronomers assumed that scintillation was due to variations in the refraction of starlight as it passed through turbulent regions of the earth's atmosphere. But they were never able to establish the existence of a particular region or the exact meteorological conditions involved in the effect. An experiment by the Sandia Corp. of Albuquerque, N. Mex., reports...

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