scintillation

Definitions

General Science

  • noun the series of fluctuations in brightness of stars caused by atmospheric instability

Astronomy

  • Technical term for ‘twinkling,’ the fluctuations in brightness of stars caused by atmospheric instability. Radio scintillation is a similar effect seen in radio astronomy, but is caused by fluctuations in the solar wind rather than in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Electronics

  • A flash or spark.
  • A flash of visible light produced by a crystal or other material which is exposed to ionizing radiation. Each incident photon produces a flash of light, whose frequency depends on the energy of the incident radiation.
  • Rapid fluctuations, usually of small amplitude, in a parameter of a radio transmitter or receiver, or in transmission or reception. For example, such variations in the carrier wave of a transmitter.
  • Rapid fluctuations, usually of small amplitude, observed in one or more parameters of a component, circuit, device, piece of equipment, or system. For instance, such variations in the irradiance levels within the cross section of a laser beam.
  • In radars, rapid fluctuations in the apparent location of a scanned object. Such variations oscillate around the mean position of said object. Also called target glint, target scintillation, or wander (2).
  • Rapid fluctuations in the apparent position, brightness, color, or the like, of distant luminous objects, such as stars, as viewed through the atmosphere. These are due, for instance, to turbulence in the atmosphere.
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