Astronomy/flashing object in the Maine sky
I was on vacation in northern Maine the first week in September (last week) and noticed what appears to be flashing stars in the night sky. They appear to change color as they flash from red to blue. One is low in the northeast sky. The other was towards the west and somewhat higher above the horizon. I observed them for several hours after dark. I was thinking they might be pulsars, but during my investgation learned that pulsars are not visible without a telescope and flash so fast that they appear to have a steady light.
So my question is, what are these flashing stars?
I hope you can solve our mystery. I live in southern New Jersey and rarely get to see the night sky without all of the light pollution. We were quite impressed at the number of stars visible in Northern Maine on a clear night.
Hello Dan, and thanks for using AllExperts...
The answer to what these "flashing" stars are lies no farther away than Earth's atmosphere. In that atmosphere, particularly those regions closest to Earth's surface, dust and gases concentrate and swirl due to uneven heating from the surface below. The frequencies of star light passing through this roiled gas and dust gets shifted, thereby changing the stars' colors and causing them to twinkle in different shades.
Hope this helps with your question. If you need further clarification be sure and let me know.