Why can I see stars better when I don't look directly at them?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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I was out in the garden a while ago just looking up at the night sky. I could see stars just off-centre from my line of vision; but when I tried to look directly at them they either appeared much dimmer or I couldn't see them at all.

Why is that?
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Offline RD

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The non-uniform distribution of sensors in the retina cause the phenomenon you have described.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averted_vision
« Last Edit: 30/07/2008 05:35:47 by RD »

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Thank you, RD, that's very interesting. I'm obviously right-eyed as I can see the faint stars better when I look slightly to the right. I'll try the up/down trick next time there's a clear night.
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