[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: stars in space,can we see them

The question was asked...
Can people see stars when in space?

Why don't we just ask someone who is or has been there? By that I mean the
Mir crew via packet or some other Cosmo/Astro -naut.  We have the

The answer, of course, is yes,  we can see the stars when in space.  I
remember during
the Apollo missions (and I believe the Shuttle) the astronauts used sextants
to take visual
"star fixes" to complement other navigational aids.

I think this question arose from the fact that in pictures of the Shuttle,
Mir, Astronauts on
the Moon, no stars can be seen.  Starlight can be seen though...isn't the
Sun a star?

This phenomenon occurs because of the differences in sensitivity of the
Human eye
versus film or video.  The eye has a much greater light intensity range than
either film or video.

Prove this to yourself...Go outside on a clear night with either a film or
video camera.
Go to an area where YOU CAN SEE STARS next to a nearby streetlight.
 Adjust the camera for best exposure of the streetlight. (the subject) Take
some pictures or video
and then look at the pictures.  I'll bet you can't see any stars in the
pictures.  If the camera iris is wideopen
and if you use sensitive film, you can take pictures of stars. You won't get
a good image of the Moon
and stars in the same picture. Film and video can't handle the brightness
range needed.

All of the film and video cameras used for images of the Shuttle, Mir, on
the Moon, were
set for best exposure of the subject. (not stars)  And given their limited
light range, they
couldn't also record star images.Take pictures of the Moon and the same
thing will happen
for the same reason.  You can see the stars but the camera can't

>From - can we see them...
        ---The opposing arguement is that light in space is moving too fast
            for us to see and that it is in a vacuum and the only reason we
            see the stars on earth is that the atmosphere slows the light
            down enough for us to see, well something in me says this is
            totally silly but I don't have an educated reason for

It really sad to think that in our scientific/technological age the above
could be considered
as a reasonable explanation.

Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe amsat-bb" to Majordomo@amsat.org