aberration of starlight

aberration of starlight,

displacement of the apparent path of light from a star, resulting in a displacement of the apparent position of the star from its true position; discovered by the English astronomer James Bradley and explained by him in 1729. The phenomenon is caused by the orbital motion of the earth; in the same way, vertically falling raindrops appear to fall diagonally when viewed from a moving vehicle. The true path of light from a star to an observer is along the straight line from the star to the observer; but, because of the component of the observer's velocity in a direction perpendicular to the direction to the star, the light appears to be traveling along a path at an angle to the true direction to the star. Thus, in order to observe a star the central axis of a telescope must be tilted as much as 20.5" (seconds of arc) from the true direction to the star, the exact amount of the angle depending on the direction to the star relative to the direction of the earth's motion in its orbit. Because of the earth's orbital motion, the stars appear to move in elliptical paths on the celestial sphere. All these ellipses have the same semimajor axis, 20.5" of arc, a value known as the constant of aberration. The tangent of the constant of aberration is equal to the ratio of the earth's orbital speed to the speed of light.
References in periodicals archive ?
If it is disconcerting to learn that Sorrentino's novel, with its single- minded focus on the tear in the fabric of an Irish and Italian family during the late years of the Depression, is born in stealth, then it is time to acknowledge also that for Sorrentino the familiar is the only fit subject for nostalgia, and that in Aberration of Starlight he carefully applies familiar modernist techniques to familiar character types.
If Aberration of Starlight is only entertainment, and it Sorrentino possesses only a ken for combining literary sources with broader publishing trends, then certainly Susan Sontag's On Photography, published in 1977, is as much a victim as Galloway's book.
What Aberration of Starlight makes clear is that Sorrentino's liftings from the treasure trove of period airs relate uniformly to the Depression.
Crystal Vision (1981), written before Aberration of Starlight, is understood on a level that is strictly hearsay.
The second installment, False Pretenses, was finished in 1974, The Phantom Enthusiast in 1975; Charmed Particles (1979) was followed eight years later by The Lighted Field (1987), then Imaginary Light (1995), Time Being (2001), Free to Go (2003), and Aberration of Starlight (2008).
In the two Adventures that followed Time Being, Noren continued to investigate the visual options of digital; and while both Free to Co and Aberration of Starlight attest to his remarkable work ethic, both features also retreat from the engaging sensuality and intimacy that have infused so much of Noren's work.
On one level, the visual world Noren creates in Free to Go and Aberration of Starlight exploits the tendency toward graphic flatness that seems intrinsic to digital imagemaking; in these motion pictures, the movie screen does seem a veil, an illusion.
Aberration of Starlight (the title borrows an astronomical term for the distortion of a star's position caused by the rotation of the earth) expands on some of the investigations pursued in Free to Go: Early in the film, Noren again works with black-and-white imagery of his commute to and from New York City, but he exploits the 3-D capacity of his camera in a manner new to his work.
Bradley named this phenomenon the aberration of starlight.