“Pulsating Star” in the Sky

Question:  Hi, I live in Baltimore, Md. and every morning around 4-5 o’clock I leave for work and I see this huge pulsating star. I checked on my star map app and it said it was M79 but how could it be so bright? And why is it pulsating? — Zachariah

Answer:  I suspect that what you are seeing is the Planet which is low on the horizon.  The “pulsating” you are seeing is likely due to the Earth’s atmosphere refracting the light of the planet as it passes through the moving atmosphere, giving the illusion of pulsating or twinkling.

Jeff Mangum


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