Starlight is the light emitted by stars.[1] It typically refers to visible electromagnetic radiation from stars other than the Sun observable from Earth during the night time although a component of starlight is observable from the Earth during the daytime.

Sunlight is the term used for the Sun's starlight observed during daytime. During nighttime, albedo describes solar reflections from other Solar System objects including moonlight.

Perseid Meteor
Starry sky crossed with the Milky Way and a shooting star


Observation and measurement of starlight through telescopes is the basis for many fields of astronomy,[2] including photometry and stellar spectroscopy.[3] Hipparchus did not have a telescope or any instrument that could measure apparent brightness accurately, so he simply made estimates with his eyes. He sorted the stars into six brightness categories, which he called magnitudes.[4] He referred to the brightest stars in his catalog as first-magnitudes stars, which were the brightest stars and those so faint he could barely see them were sixth-magnitude stars.[4]

Starlight is also a notable part of personal experience and human culture, impacting a diverse range of pursuits including poetry,[5] astronomy,[2] and military strategy.[6]

The United States Army spent millions of dollars in the 1950s and onward to develop a starlight scope, that could amplify starlight, moonlight filtered by clouds, and the fluorescence of rotting vegetation about 50,000 times to allow a person to see in the night.[6] In contrast to previously developed active infrared system such as sniperscope, it was a passive device and did not require additional light emission to see.[6]

The average color of starlight in the observable universe is a shade of yellowish-white that has been given the name Cosmic Latte.

Starlight spectroscopy, examination of the stellar spectra, was pioneered by Joseph Fraunhofer in 1814.[3] Starlight can be understood to be composed of three main spectra types, continuous spectrum, emission spectrum, and absorption spectrum.[1]

Oldest starlight

One of the oldest stars yet identified (oldest not most distant in this case) was identified in 2014, the star SMSS J031300.362670839.3 was determined to be 6000 light years away but date to 13.8 billion years ago.[7] The starlight shining on Earth would include this star.[7]


Night photography includes photographing subjects that are lit primarily by starlight.[8] Directly taking images of night sky is also a part of astrophotography.[9] Like other photography, it can be used for the pursuit of science and/or leisure.[10][11] Subjects include nocturnal animals.[9] In many cases starlight photography may also overlap with a need to understand the impact of moonlight.[9]


Startlight intensity has been observed to be a function of its polarization.

Starlight becomes partially linearly polarized by scattering from elongated interstellar dust grains whose long axes tend to be oriented perpendicular to the galactic magnetic field. According to the Davis–Greenstein mechanism, the grains spin rapidly with their rotation axis along the magnetic field. Light polarized along the direction of the magnetic field perpendicular to the line of sight is transmitted, while light polarized in the plane defined by the rotating grain is blocked. Thus the polarization direction can be used to map the galactic magnetic field. The degree of polarization is on the order of 1.5% for stars at 1,000 parsecs' distance.[12]

Normally, a much smaller fraction of circular polarization is found in starlight. Serkowski, Mathewson and Ford[13] measured the polarization of 180 stars in UBVR filters. They found a maximum fractional circular polarization of , in the R filter.

The explanation is that the interstellar medium is optically thin. Starlight traveling through a kiloparsec column undergoes about a magnitude of extinction, so that the optical depth ~ 1. An optical depth of 1 corresponds to a mean free path, which is the distance, on average that a photon travels before scattering from a dust grain. So on average, a starlight photon is scattered from a single interstellar grain; multiple scattering (which produces circular polarization) is much less likely. Observationally,[12] the linear polarization fraction p ~ 0.015 from a single scattering; circular polarization from multiple scattering goes as , so we expect a circularly polarized fraction of .

Light from early-type stars has very little intrinsic polarization. Kemp et al.[14] measured the optical polarization of the Sun at sensitivity of ; they found upper limits of for both (fraction of linear polarization) and (fraction of circular polarization).

The interstellar medium can produce circularly polarized (CP) light from unpolarized light by sequential scattering from elongated interstellar grains aligned in different directions. One possibility is twisted grain alignment along the line of sight due to variation in the galactic magnetic field; another is the line of sight passes through multiple clouds. For these mechanisms the maximum expected CP fraction is , where is the fraction of linearly polarized (LP) light. Kemp & Wolstencroft[15] found CP in six early-type stars (no intrinsic polarization), which they were able to attribute to the first mechanism mentioned above. In all cases, in blue light.

Martin[16] showed that the interstellar medium can convert LP light to CP by scattering from partially aligned interstellar grains having a complex index of refraction. This effect was observed for light from the Crab Nebula by Martin, Illing and Angel.[17]

An optically thick circumstellar environment can potentially produce much larger CP than the interstellar medium. Martin[16] suggested that LP light can become CP near a star by multiple scattering in an optically thick asymmetric circumstellar dust cloud. This mechanism was invoked by Bastien, Robert and Nadeau,[18] to explain the CP measured in 6 T-Tauri stars at a wavelength of 768 nm. They found a maximum CP of . Serkowski[19] measured CP of for the red supergiant NML Cygni and in the long-period variable M star VY Canis Majoris in the H band, ascribing the CP to multiple scattering in circumstellar envelopes. Chrysostomou et al.[20] found CP with q of up to 0.17 in the Orion OMC-1 star-forming region, and explained it by reflection of starlight from aligned oblate grains in the dusty nebula.

Circular polarization of zodiacal light and Milky Way diffuse galactic light was measured at wavelength of 550 nm by Wolstencroft and Kemp.[21] They found values of , which is higher than for ordinary stars, presumably because of multiple scattering from dust grains.

See also


  1. ^ a b Keith Robinson (2009). Starlight: An Introduction to Stellar Physics for Amateurs. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 38–40. ISBN 978-1-4419-0708-0.
  2. ^ a b Macpherson, Hector (1911). The romance of modern astronomy. p. 191.
  3. ^ a b J. B. Hearnshaw (1990). The Analysis of Starlight: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Astronomical Spectroscopy. CUP Archive. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-521-39916-6.
  4. ^ a b Astronomy. Rice University. 2016. p. 761. ISBN 1938168283- via Open Stax.
  5. ^ Wells Hawks Skinner – Studies in literature and composition for high schools, normal schools, and ... (1897) – Page 102 (Google eBook link)
  6. ^ a b c Popular Mechanics – Jan 1969 – "How the Army Learned to See in the Dark" by Mort Schultz (Google Books link)
  7. ^ a b "Ancient Star May Be Oldest in Known Universe".
  8. ^ Rowell, Tony (2 April 2018). "Sierra Starlight: The Astrophotography of Tony Rowell". Heyday – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b c Ray, Sidney (23 October 2015). "Scientific Photography and Applied Imaging". CRC Press – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Ray, Sidney (2015-10-23). Scientific Photography and Applied Imaging. CRC Press. ISBN 9781136094385.
  11. ^ Ray, Sidney (2015-10-23). Scientific Photography and Applied Imaging. CRC Press. ISBN 9781136094385.
  12. ^ a b Fosalba, Pablo; Lazarian, Alex; Prunet, Simon; Tauber, Jan A. (2002). "Statistical Properties of Galactic Starlight Polarization". Astrophysical Journal. 564 (2): 762–772. arXiv:astro-ph/0105023. Bibcode:2002ApJ...564..762F. doi:10.1086/324297.
  13. ^ Serkowski, K.; Mathewson and Ford (1975). "Wavelength dependence of interstellar polarization and ratio of total to selective extinction". Astrophysical Journal. 196: 261. Bibcode:1975ApJ...196..261S. doi:10.1086/153410.
  14. ^ Kemp, J. C.; et al. (1987). "The optical polarization of the Sun measured at a sensitivity of parts in ten million". Nature. 326 (6110): 270–273. Bibcode:1987Natur.326..270K. doi:10.1038/326270a0.
  15. ^ Kemp, James C.; Wolstencroft (1972). "Interstellar Circular Polarization: Data for Six Stars and the Wavelength Dependence". Astrophysical Journal. 176: L115. Bibcode:1972ApJ...176L.115K. doi:10.1086/181036.
  16. ^ a b Martin (1972). "Interstellar circular polarization". MNRAS. 159 (2): 179–190. Bibcode:1972MNRAS.159..179M. doi:10.1093/mnras/159.2.179.
  17. ^ Martin, P.G.; Illing, R.; Angel, J. R. P. (1972). "Discovery of interstellar circular polarization in the direction of the Crab nebula". MNRAS. 159 (2): 191–201. Bibcode:1972MNRAS.159..191M. doi:10.1093/mnras/159.2.191.
  18. ^ Bastein, Pierre; Robert and Nadeau (1989). "Circular polarization in T Tauri stars. II - New observations and evidence for multiple scattering". Astrophysical Journal. 339: 1089. Bibcode:1989ApJ...339.1089B. doi:10.1086/167363.
  19. ^ Serkowski, K. (1973). "Infrared Circular Polarization of NML Cygni and VY Canis Majoris". Astrophysical Journal. 179: L101. Bibcode:1973ApJ...179L.101S. doi:10.1086/181126.
  20. ^ Chrysostomou, Antonio; et al. (2000). "Polarimetry of young stellar objects - III. Circular polarimetry of OMC-1". MNRAS. 312 (1): 103–115. Bibcode:2000MNRAS.312..103C. CiteSeerX doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2000.03126.x.
  21. ^ Wolstencroft, Ramon D.; Kemp (1972). "Circular Polarization of the Nightsky Radiation". Astrophysical Journal. 177: L137. Bibcode:1972ApJ...177L.137W. doi:10.1086/181068.
1958 Miles

1958 Miles is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released in 1974 on CBS/Sony. Recording sessions for the album took place on May 26, 1958, at Columbia's 30th Street Studio and September 9, 1958, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. 1958 Miles consists of three songs featured on side two of the LP album Jazz Track, which was released earlier in 1958, one song from the same session not appearing in the album (Love for Sale), and three recordings from Davis' live performance at the Plaza Hotel with his ensemble sextet. The recording date at 30th Street Studio served as the first documented session to feature pianist Bill Evans performing in Davis' group.

The sessions for the album in mid-1958, along with the Milestones sessions from earlier that year, were seen by many music writers as elemental in Miles Davis' transition from bebop to the modal style of jazz and were viewed as precursors to his best-known work, Kind of Blue. Following audio engineering and digital restoration by engineer Larry Keyes at Sony Music New York Studio, the album was reissued on compact disc in 1991 as part of Columbia's Jazz Masterpieces Series. For later reissues, the album was retitled as '58 Sessions Featuring Stella by Starlight or '58 Miles Featuring Stella by Starlight. The complete 1958 sessions for Columbia were issued on the box set The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis with John Coltrane, and Jazz at the Plaza was reissued in 2001. The first four tracks were also released as Bonus disc of the 50 Anniversary Collector's Edition of Kind of Blue.

Black Box (band)

Black Box is an Italian house music group popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The members of the group included a trio made up of a club DJ (Daniele Davoli), a classically trained clarinet teacher (Valerio Semplici), and a keyboard and electronic music "wiz" (Mirko Limoni). The group created an image for the Black Box act using French fashion model Katrin Quinol on its album/singles' cover art and supposed lead singer in all of the group's music videos. However, their success quickly turned to infamy when it was revealed that Quinol was lip-syncing to the group's actual recorded vocalist Martha Wash, who sang the majority of the songs on the group's debut album Dreamland.

Davoli, Semplici, and Limoni had previously formed a group called Groove Groove Melody, producing dance music under names such as Starlight (who had a UK Top 10 hit in August 1989 with "Numero Uno") and Wood Allen. They went on to record music under many other aliases, most notably Mixmaster, which scored a UK #9 hit in November 1989 with the song "Grand Piano".

Coast Starlight

The Coast Starlight is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on the West Coast of the United States. It runs from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, via the San Francisco Bay Area. The train was the first to offer direct service between the two cities. Its name is a combination of two Southern Pacific (SP) trains, the Coast Daylight and the Starlight. The train has operated continuously since Amtrak's formation in 1971. Unique among Amtrak's long-distance trains, the Coast Starlight featured a Hi-Level lounge for sleeping car passengers — the "Pacific Parlour Car" — which was discontinued in February 2018.

Lady Starlight

Colleen Martin (born December 23, 1975), professionally known as Lady Starlight, is an American musical performer. She has toured three times and is best known for her numerous collaborations with Lady Gaga. Besides her own performances, she also started to perform together with Surgeon (Anthony Child).

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the third studio album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, released on October 23, 1995 in the United Kingdom and a day later in the United States on Virgin Records. Produced by frontman Billy Corgan with Flood and Alan Moulder, the 28-track album was released as a two-disc CD and triple LP. The album features a wide array of styles, as well as greater musical input from bassist D'arcy Wretzky and second guitarist James Iha.

Propelled by the album's lead single, "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", it debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first week sales of 246,500 units. To date it remains the band's only album to top the Billboard 200. It spawned five more singles—"1979", "Zero", "Tonight, Tonight", the promotional "Muzzle", and "Thirty-Three"—over the course of 1996, and was certified diamond by the RIAA, equivalent to over 10 million units sold. Praised by critics for its ambition and scope, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness earned the band seven Grammy Award nominations in 1997, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year ("1979"), as well as 9 MTV Music Video Awards nominations, 8 of which were for "Tonight, Tonight", including "Video of the Year". Not only did they all become hits on both mainstream rock and modern rock stations, but "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "1979", "Tonight, Tonight", and "Thirty-Three" also became the band's first Top 40 hits, crossing over to pop radio stations.

The recording sessions saw a wealth of productivity: dozens of fully completed songs were cut from the album, and would turn up on later releases. A box set released in November 1996, titled The Aeroplane Flies High, compiled the promotional singles from the album, and featured approximately 30 fully completed songs from the Mellon Collie sessions which had not made the final cut for the album (including one track, "Pastichio Medley", which contained over 70 short snippets of songs in various states of completion). Both Mellon Collie and The Aeroplane Flies High later saw reissues which included even more tracks from the sessions.

Mint (candy)

A mint is a food item often consumed as an after-meal refreshment or before business and social engagements to improve breath odor. Mints are commonly believed to soothe the stomach given their association with natural byproducts of the plant genus Mentha. Mints sometimes contain derivatives from plants such as peppermint oil or spearmint oil, or wintergreen from the plant genus Gaultheria. However, many of the most popular mints citing these natural sources contain none in their ingredient list or contain only trace amounts.

Night-vision device

A night-vision device (NVD), also known as night optical/observation device (NOD) and night-vision goggles (NVG), is an optoelectronic device that allows images be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. The image may be a conversion to visible light of both visible light and near-infrared, while by convention detection of thermal infrared is denoted thermal imaging. The image produced is typically monochrome, e.g. shades of green. NVDs are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies, but are available to civilian users. The term usually refers to a complete unit, including an image intensifier tube, a protective and generally water-resistant housing, and some type of mounting system. Many NVDs also include optical components such as a sacrificial lens, or telescopic lenses or mirrors. An NVD may have an IR illuminator, making it an active as opposed to passive night-vision device.

Night-vision devices were first used in World War II and came into wide use during the Vietnam War. The technology has evolved greatly since their introduction, leading to several "generations" of night-vision equipment with performance increasing and price decreasing. Consequently, they are available for a wide range of applications, e.g. for gunners, drivers and aviators.

North Palisade

North Palisade is the third highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada range of California. It is the highest peak of the Palisades group of peaks in the central part of the range. It sports a small glacier (the Palisade Glacier) and several highly prized rock climbing routes on its northeast side.

Starlight (Muse song)

"Starlight" is a song by English alternative rock band Muse from their fourth studio album Black Holes and Revelations (2006). It was released on 4 September 2006 in the United Kingdom as the second single from Black Holes and Revelations. The lyric "Our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations" gives the album its title.

The song peaked at number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. It was also the second single released in the United States, reaching number two on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song was first played live during the Radio 1's Big Weekend festival in summer 2006.

Starlight Bowl (San Diego)

The Starlight Bowl is an amphitheater located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It was constructed for the 1935–1936 California Pacific International Exposition and seats 4,300. It was originally named the Ford Bowl because the automobile manufacturer sponsored outdoor concerts at the venue during the exposition by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the San Francisco Symphony, and other performers.

Starlight Children's Foundation

Starlight Children's Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 for hospitalized children and their families.

Starlight programs offer entertainment, education and technology to critically, chronically and terminally ill children. These programs are provided directly to children through Starlight's network of more than 700 children's hospitals and other community health partners throughout North America. Starlight's US operations are based in Los Angeles, California. The charity has provided support to more than 60 million children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK where it has additional office locations and programs.

Starlight Express

Starlight Express is a rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Richard Stilgoe (lyrics). Later productions have used additional songs with lyrics by Don Black, David Yazbek, Nick Coler and Lauren Aquilina, and with music by the composer's son, Alastair Lloyd Webber.

The musical tells the story of a young but obsolete steam engine, Rusty, who races in a championship against modern engines in the hope of impressing a first-class carriage, Pearl. Famously, the actors perform the entire show on roller skates.The West End production of Starlight Express is the eighth longest-running musical in Broadway and West End history, having been performed 7,409 times between 1984 and 2002. Starlight Express is also the most successful musical in Germany, where it has been performed in a purpose-built theatre since 1988.

Starlight Networks

Starlight Networks was founded in 1991 by Charlie Bass, Jim Long and Mark Gang with backing from investors Accel Partners and Interwest Partners. The company created some of the first commercial video-on-demand and video streaming products. The first Starlight Networks product was named StarWorks and enabled on-demand MPEG1 full motion videos to be randomly accessed on corporate IP networks. Later a version was released for Novell named Starware.Originally the press referred to networked video as "store & forward video" but that changed after Starlight Networks began describing it as "streaming video". In late 1996 as Starlight added support for live presentations integrating live streaming video with slides and chat, they referred to such solutions as "InterMedia Networking".In 1995 Starlight introduced streaming video over satellites with Hughes Network Systems. In February 1998 Starlight introduced one of the first full motion video Web conferencing products, StarLive! (the exclamation point was part of the product name). Technology analyst Om Malik wrote in May 1998 how Starlight software helped power Bloomberg Television and Starlight partnered with RealNetworks to enable Web conferencing at Smith Barney. General Electric also tapped Starlight Products for corporate communications and training.Other investors included Sequoia Capital, and Merrill, Pickard, Anderson, and Eyre Ventures. Starlight was acquired by PictureTel Corp. in 1998.

Starlight Park

Starlight Park was an American amusement park located near West Farms Square in the Bronx, New York, east of the Bronx River. It operated from 1918 to 1932.Starlight Park was originally built for the Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts and Industries, which was hosted in 1918, and as such the park was known as Exposition Park during that time. During its heyday, Starlight Park featured various amusement rides, as well as the Bronx Coliseum and the submarine Holland. The site is now occupied by a MTA Regional Bus Operations bus depot and a public park of the same name.

Starlight Theatre (Kansas City, Missouri)

Starlight Theatre is a 7,958-seat outdoor theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, United States that presents Broadway shows and concerts. It is one of the two major remaining self-producing outdoor theatres in the U.S. and Starlight's Cohen stagehouse also permits it to present many national Broadway touring shows.

Stella by Starlight

"Stella by Starlight" is a popular song by Victor Young that was drawn from thematic material composed for the main title and soundtrack of the 1944 Paramount Pictures film, The Uninvited. Appearing in the film's underscore as well as in source music as an instrumental theme song without lyrics, it was turned over to Ned Washington, who wrote the lyrics for it in 1946. The title had to be incorporated into the lyrics, which resulted in its unusual placement: the phrase appears about three quarters of the way through the song, rather than at the beginning or the end.At one point in the film, the main character, Rick (Ray Milland) tells Stella (Gail Russell) that he is playing a serenade, "To Stella by Starlight".

Thriller (song)

"Thriller" is a song recorded by American singer Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones. It was released as the seventh and final single from Jackson's album Thriller (1982) on January 23, 1984.

Songwriter Rod Temperton wanted to write a theatrical song to suit Jackson's love of film. The music and lyrics evoke horror films, with sound effects such as thunder, footsteps and wind. It ends with a spoken-word sequence performed by horror actor Vincent Price.

"Thriller" received positive reviews and became the album's seventh top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It reached the top of the charts in France and Belgium and the top ten in many other countries. It appears on several of Jackson's greatest hits albums.

The "Thriller" music video, directed by John Landis, premiered on MTV on December 2, 1983. In the video, Jackson becomes a zombie and performs a dance routine with a horde of the undead. Many elements of the video have had a lasting impact on popular culture, such as the zombie dance and Jackson's red jacket, and it was the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry.

Star systems
Related articles

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.