Talk:Astronomical seeing

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Material added from my thesis[edit]

I've added some material from the introduction to my thesis: Rnt20 09:25, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Move (2005)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

This article has been moved from its previous location at [[Seeing_disk]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rnt20 (talkcontribs) 13:15, 19 May 2005‎ (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


Does "seeing" really refer to the problem of atmospheric disturbance, or is "seeing" a qualitative term, i.e. "good seeing" or "bad seeing", which can be affected by the atmospheric conditions? This article suggests the former, but the latter seems to make more sense in English. 16:11, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Well the latter was my dim recollection, but then I didn't talk to real (optical) astronomers that often. Linuxlad 19:06, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Both forms are widely used. Rnt20 19:26, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, I guess that's fairly authoritative Dr Tubbs :-) Can I suggest we use the more intuitive form (as in poor seeing) at the introduction of articles at least. Bob aka Linuxlad


There's an inconsistency in the article - atmospheric seeing and astronomical seeing are used interchangeably without explanation - both terms should be explained at the start then one used throughout, but I'm not sure which is the more common term. I was under the impression in was "atmospheric seeing", but the article seems to redirect both to astronomical. ChowRiit (talk) 08:21, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


Perhaps a section discussing the myth of "only stars twinkle" would be worthwhile. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lzkelley (talkcontribs) 04:15, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

There is a decent explanation on the Scintillation website... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Best conditions?[edit]

Doesn't seem to be any information here about what sort of weather conditions give good seeing. -- (talk) 04:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

"Optical Turbulence" as a separate article vs added to Astronomical seeing vs both[edit]

I plan on adding information about the more general problem of "Optical Turbulence" and I am looking for input on how best to relate this to the present article (i.e. add to Astronomical seeing vs new article vs combination of the two.)

The subject goes beyond just the problem of imaging astronomical objects approximately vertically through the atmosphere i.e. how is an optical field affected by turbulence (in general and atmospherical turbulence specifically). Applications will include both imaging through turbulence (such as in astronomy), but also other applications such as communication (which include ground to satellite, satellite to ground, and horizontal path). For more detail about what to expect, I will be drawing heavily from the following source (as well as a number of original sources in the scientific literature) "" Punk physicist 23:20, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Quibble about charge-coupled devices[edit]

Quibble: In the section "The effects of astronomical seeing" we have this sentence: "Before the use of charge-coupled devices, there was no way of recording the image of the planet in the brief moment other than having the observer remember the image and draw it later." How about using photographic equipment, that is, cameras and film? [Charles Pergiel, October 30, 2011]

Merger Proposal (2014)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I'm proposing that Twinkling be merged into Astronomical seeing; the information on the Twinkling stub should be relatively easy to merge into this article (potentially the "effects of astronomical seeing" section). Also, twinkling doesn't really need a page to itself since it's an effect of astronomical seeing in the first place. Primefac (talk) 22:09, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Comment : I might agree, but note that the Twinkling article gets straight to the point in the lead, the point being what a child between ages 5 and 95 would want to know when they ask "why do stars twinkle?". If that execution and simplicity can be translated into a new lead here, one that begins with a general-audience focus, then it should. SamuelRiv (talk) 04:30, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
The information for "twinkling" could probably be integrated here, but I would keep both articles where they are or better yet, merge this into twinkling. That's the common name. Red Slash 01:21, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Not to get pedantic, but if the information for twinkling gets integrated into this article, what would be the point of keeping twinkling as its own page? As for merging into twinkling, my thoughts are that twinkling is the effect caused by astronomical seeing, hence why it should be a subsection. Of course, if everyone else disagrees then it doesn't really matter. Primefac (talk) 13:16, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad you raised this point; it's leading to me learning a ton more about all this stuff. All I really knew is what's on the twinkling article, but I'm starting to learn more and I like it. My concern is that we usually have articles at their common name, and obviously "twinkling" is a lot more common than "astronomical seeing". Common name is not the be-all and end-all of Wikipedia naming, but it's pretty important. What if we merge twinkling into astronomical seeing and then move the whole article over to twinkling? Red Slash 15:56, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
At university we generally refer to astronomical seeing (we hardly ever use "twinkling"), so I guess it all depends on who's looking for/reading the article ^__^ I suppose once/if other people comment on the matter it'll be more clear which way to go (at the moment I'm actually leaning slightly towards your suggestion, but I haven't fully committed yet). Primefac (talk) 16:44, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Comment : It would be better to merge twinkling with "scintillation," assuming that there is an article on this topic. "Twinkling" and "scintillation" refer to the variations in the perceived brightness of a star. "Seeing" refers to the blurriness of the star image. (talk) 01:49, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Interestingly, scintillation (astronomy) redirects to twinkling. Primefac (talk) 11:16, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, because "twinkling" is the common name for the phenomenon known by some as "scintillation". The article on astronomical scintillation is found at and under the name of twinkling. Should that article and this article here be the same? Red Slash 06:01, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Disagree. I would not describe twinkling as an effect of seeing. Twinkling, or scintillation, is instead a component of seeing, and is a bit more general than seeing. I think the two articles are likely to have different audiences, and they may be more able to serve each audience if kept separate. James McBride (talk) 04:59, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
Conversation conclusion[edit]
Articles will remain separate

Main arguments:

Twinkling and astronomical seeing are related (but different) aspects of atmospheric scintillation.

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Seeing, twinkling and turbulence[edit]

(In response to Sections 7 and 9)

Seeing and twinkling are distinct phenomena. Seeing refers to image motion and image blur (i.e. tilt of wave-fronts), while twinkling is the naked-eye perception of scintillation, i.e. variations of intensity (brightness) caused by curvature of wave-fronts. Scintillation is caused by high-altitude turbulence (winds) while seeing is affected by turbulence at all altitudes down to ground. There is no general correlation between seeing and twinkling - they are different phenomena with different causes - but there is a dependency on aperture and integration time which produces an apparent correlation for naked-eye viewing: we see stars twinkling most when seeing is poor. Poor seeing does not cause twinkling.

Hence I would disagree with a merger of twinkling and seeing, but I would agree with an entry covering optical turbulence, to include image motion/blur and scintillation as distinct phenomena. Though I note that an entry on scintillation exists already.

Suggested reference: C.E. Coulman, Fundamental and Applied Aspects of Astronomical "Seeing", Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1985. 23: 19-57 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lidolstar (talkcontribs) 10:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

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