Reach for the Stars
YELLOW dwarfs, red supergiants, hot blue stars, all conjure up visions of a celestial kaleidoscope. But, apart from their brightness, most of us find it hard to detect any difference between one star and another. What do the astronomers see that we don’t?
Even a medium-sized telescope hardly reveals their color. Nevertheless, the color is there. As the Bible said some two thousand years ago, “star differs from star in glory” and, of course, color.—1 Corinthians 15:41.
So why can’t we see the diverse colors of the stars? Although our eyes get accustomed to the dark after a few minutes, they require a certain minimum intensity of light to perceive color, and starlight is not that strong. Thus, while we can see faraway objects, we still find it difficult to distinguish their color.
The astronomer gets around this problem by using sensitive photographic plates together with powerful telescopes. The time-lapse photograph at the right shows clearly the different colors of certain stars in the Southern Hemisphere as they move across the night sky. What a beautiful testimony to the handiwork of God!—Psalm 8:3.
[Picture Credit Line on page 31]
David Malin, Anglo-Australian Telescope Board