Why Are Stars Only Visible At Night?

At night, when the sun goes down, it is very common to see stars in the night sky.

However, you may have wondered why we don’t see any stars during the day. The answer is very simple. In this article, we will be uncovering the answer to why stars are only visible at night and if it is possible to see any stars during the day.

Carry on reading to learn the answer.

What Is A Star?

Before we go into detail, whether you can see stars at night, it is important to know what a star is. 

A star is a sphere of very hot and glowing gas. They produce their own light and energy by a process called nuclear fusion. This process happens when lighter elements are forced to become a heavier element. As a result, when this happens, a vast amount of energy is needed, which causes the star to heat up and shine brightly. 

There are millions of different stars, and they come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Our own Sun is known as a star and is categorized as an average sized yellow star. While smaller stars are red and larger stars are blue. Yet from Earth, all stars look very white, this is due to the energy that they are using up. 

Some stars have taken hundreds of years for its light to reach Earth, therefore their light might be quite dim. However, the light that we receive from stars can also help us work out how old our universe is and how old certain stars are. It all depends on how long the star’s light has taken to travel all the way to Earth. 

Seeing Stars At Night

During the day, the sun is out and shining. As our sun is such a bright star and so close to Earth that its light is very powerful. Therefore, the sun’s light blocks out all other stars that can be seen from Earth. 

The stars that we see in the sky are visible in the sky both in the day and night. It is only due to the sun’s beaming light that means we cannot see other stars that have a much dimmer light. As a result, when the sun is gone and the sky is dark, the light from the dimmer stars can be seen much more clearly. 

On a clear night, in a dark area that is away from any city lights, you can see up to 2000 stars in the night sky. Generally, the darker the area that you are in, the more stars that you will be able to see. However, if the moon is out, the light from the moon may reduce the number of stars that you are able to see.

Thus, a full moon and any artificial light will impact the number of stars you are able to witness. As a result, the darker the area you can be in the better as you will have the chance to witness a lot more of the night sky. 

Can We See Stars During The Day?

Throughout history, it has been reported by Aristotle and Sir John Herchel also claimed that stars can be visible during the day. They can only be seen from the bottom of mine shafts, coal pits, and tall chimneys. The ability to see the stars during the day was due to the contrast between the dark surroundings and the small visual angle you are looking through. 

Many experiments have been made to see what these people have said is true. German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and his students tested the idea using a 230 foot chimney that had a 16 foot opening. They searched for Vega, the fifth brightest star in the night sky, and saw nothing. 

Therefore, accounts that you can see stars during the day are false. However, with that being said, the Sun is our nearest sun and can be observed during the day. However, a note of caution is that it is dangerous to look directly into the sun. You must use proper equipment and shields. 

As long as you know where to look, you should be able to view Venus. This planet is a super bright star when viewed by the naked eye, which is visible during the day. You just need to know where to look.

However, generally, it is difficult to see stars during the day, as the sun’s light is so bright that it blocks out all of the other stars. This is why stars are typically viewed at night. 

Is The Night Sky Vanishing?

As we have previously mentioned, stars can only be seen at night due to the sunlight’s glare. However, even at night, certain areas still can’t see any stars in the night sky. This is due to light pollution. If cities turned off all their lights, including street lamps, car headlights, billboards, and neon signs, then you would be able to see all the stars in the sky. 

For those of you who live in a city or a heavily populated area, you still can’t see any stars in the sky due to light pollution. Around 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans have lost their night sky due to light pollution,  as there is a constant artificial glow.

Therefore, just like the stars that aren’t bright enough to combat the sun’s light, they are also not strong enough to push through the artificial glow we have created on Earth in certain areas. 

Stars Twinkling At Night

At night, it is common to see stars twinkling in the night sky. However, real stars don’t twinkle; this is due to our atmosphere. When the starlight enters our atmosphere, it is affected by a few other variables. This can include the winds in our atmosphere and the different temperatures and densities in the area that the starlight is shining on. 

Thus, the light that comes from the star is then made to look as if it is twinkling when we view the star from the ground on Earth. 

Final Thoughts

Generally, stars are only visible at night and this is due to our sun. Our Sun is a very large sun that generates a lot of heat, energy, and light. Therefore, when the sun is out during the day, its light overpowers all the other stars in the sky. Stars are constantly in the sky, but due to the bright light caused by our sun, we can only see these stars once the sun has gone away, at the end of the day. 

Stars are allowed to be visible at night when no other light is surrounding them. Therefore, to be able to see stars clearly, you need to be in a very dark area, that is away from any artificial light. However, even the moon can affect how many stars you are able to see at night. 

If you were in space, you would be able to see all the stars 24/7. However, as Earth revolves around the sun, when the sun is out it blocks out the light from any other stars. Now you know why stars are only visible at night, but we have given you some tips on how you are able to see more stars at night if you wish to. 

Gordon Watts