What causes horizontal and vertical lines coming out of pictures of stars?

  • What causes the horizontal and vertical lines coming out of pictures of stars, instead of them simply appearing as circles? For example, this picture from Wikipedia: this picture.

    It should probably be noted that Fraunhofer diffraction is common in all kinds of photography, and is present in nearly every photo; though to greater degrees for photos with more closed apertures and far more obvious in high contrast situations provided by lights, like stars. Here is a great question in the Photography stack exchange on the topic, and another from Physics.

  • Jareth Holt

    Jareth Holt Correct answer

    7 years ago

    (I'd make this a comment, but no reputation yet.)

    Minute Physics has a good video on this! Filtering light through any lens causes spikes that identify what kind of aperture was used. That looks like a Hubble picture because of the diamond spikes.

    It is not to do with the circular aperture in the case shown.

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