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Is it normal?


Manok101
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I was just wondering ever since my brother told me he couldn't see that betelgeuse is a dull red/orange color with his naked eyes, I can, I can also tell sirius and rigel are also blue, i can also kind of see that capella is yellowish, but only if I look at it for awhile, but most other stars unless im looking in my scope I can't tell what they are. Is it normal to be able to see star color in the largest stars in the night sky? Or am I just weird?

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Hi Manok,

the stars you can see have different colour due to their relative age. Most are like our Sun and are the most numerous type of star visible in the night sky, they are yellow/orange in appearance.The Red Giants are long lived stars that have been around for billions of years as opposed to Blue which are young and live up to around a billion years.

Hope that helps.

Alan

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Everyone has slightly different eyesight (obviously huge difference between some).

I can see colour in stars and also my averted vision is good. But many don't have that.

However, some can see things I don't...and so on.

So no, it's not weird...just different :)

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I was just wondering ever since my brother told me he couldn't see that betelgeuse is a dull red/orange color with his naked eyes, I can, I can also tell sirius and rigel are also blue, i can also kind of see that capella is yellowish, but only if I look at it for awhile, but most other stars unless im looking in my scope I can't tell what they are. Is it normal to be able to see star color in the largest stars in the night sky? Or am I just weird?

It's his eyes..

I remember reading a while back that men and women have fundamentally different vision.

First: how eyes work.

The Rods and Cones of the Human Eye

Basically, Rods do black and white, are not so tightly packed and don't do core vision. Cones do colour are tightly packed and do your core vision.

What does this mean?

1. When light levels are too low for Cones you get a blind spot right in the middle of your vision when the cones pack up.

2. You can't see too much detail off axis, but you can see extrememly faint things.

3. Not everyones eyes will adjust at the same rate or at the same light levels. Some people might see colour down to quite low light levels before 'night vision' kicks in, some people can have quite slow response, and some quite fast (mine seem to be very fast, I've never needed the oft quoted 15 minutes dark adaption time.. more like 5 or 10)

4. The size of the 'core vision' will vary person to person. In my experience women have substantially superior 'core' vision, meaning they can read much faster (can read almost a line of text at a time without moving the eye.. I can only read a 3 letter word without moving my eye). As a result women can often pick static things out of a coplicated background much better than men. Men however will do substantilly better in the dark and at following or spotting a moving object. Men can drive home at night without too much bother, just don't ask us to find anything in a supermarket! (I will always stand way back from the shelves to expand my core vsision.. think shopping through a telephoto lense)

Derek

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I am pretty badly colour blind (red/green) and i cant really tell star colours with the naked eye. In star trails i have taken on the camera i can make out differences - i just need an area larger than a little dot to be able to do it.

I wouldnt use the term "normal" in any description about me though :)

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Can see colour fairly OK, catch is I have only my own eye's as reference. Seems equal to most others.

Could be a case of trying too hard, noticed colour in a star the other night, mentioned it and look back but more at it, seemed to lose some of the colour I had seen.

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Thanks, color blindness runs in my family, could location fuzz up the colors enough? I work generally at night, and where I work the light pollution is really bad (its at a local arena) and when I look at orion, I have to sit there for a few minutes before I can tell what I'm looking at, let alone tell the color of the stars.

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I am pretty badly colour blind (red/green) and i cant really tell star colours with the naked eye. In star trails i have taken on the camera i can make out differences - i just need an area larger than a little dot to be able to do it.

I wouldnt use the term "normal" in any description about me though :)

I'm colour blind too,but it's more of a problem at traffic lights than star gazing tbh :)

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This has been an interesting thread.

One thing not mentioned so far (or else I missed it) is that one's vision can be changed by many different health issues and injuries. Some years back, I had problems growing large benign tumors in my neck under the right jawbone. In the last of a string of surgeries necessary to relieve pressure on the carotid artery, a nerve was damaged causing something caused Horner's syndrome.

This injury caused my right eyelid to droop significantly, blocking a good portion of my peripheral vision. But, the worst effect was that the rate of change in pupillary dilation and expansion was slowed because other nerves had to provide that function. This caused a loss of depth perception which, over time, shifted dominance from my right eye to my left eye. As you might expect, my dark adaptation was significantly slowed; however, I can still navigate in the dark far, far better than my wife or daughter. After 30+ years, other nerves have largely replaced the function of the damaged nerve. While I still have some loss of depth perception, it is not nearly as pronounced (or my brain has attenuated). The difference in pupil size is no longer so great as to be noticeable to others as it was. The rate of pupillary expansion/contraction is no longer as slow as it was, though still slower than normal.

So, to return the OP question, while I recognize that color perception varies among individuals, I also believe that it is possible that one's sensory abilities change and that one's brain will adapt, through continued exposure and interpretation, to recognize color shifts that weren't previously perceived. Those whose color separation abilities are heightened are fortunate to have it. I wonder if, perhaps, this capability is found more often in those who engage in the graphic arts (or that it enhances one's chances of succeeding in those endeavors).

Very interesting observations and explanations of the difference in visual perception between men and women. I recall having read this many years ago at school but had forgotten about it.

Regards,

-rh

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