Why can't you see stars when you look directly at them?

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Offline thedoc

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asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hi,

Why is it that when you look directly at certain stars you can't see them but when you glance out of the corner of your eye you can?

Thanks,

Paul

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/10/2016 14:53:01 by _system »

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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Why can't you see stars when you look directly at them?
« Reply #1 on: 06/10/2016 15:33:24 »
The way our eyes are structured, the very center field of view has high resolution and sensitivity to color, but not so great at detecting very faint light. Farther from the center, the eye is more sensitive to light, but has poorer spatial and chromatic resolution (you will see fainter lights, but not be able to distinguish a small square from a small circle, or red from orange, out of the corner of your eye)