This is an odd one. I’ve searched the bug tracker, searched here, and Googled the web, but I don’t find any mention of my problem. I assume I’m doing something wrong, but…
Create a transparent material (midrange alpha setting), click the Ray Transp button, and make it look nice with a bit of fresnel. As near as I can tell, the exact settings don’t matter. Now go to the World settings and activate stars. Now position your camera so it points through the transparent object, but leave enough of the edge showing so that you can also see a completely unobstructed view to the edge of your universe. Now render with the internal ray tracer. What happens?
On my system, I can see stars around the transparent object, but not through it. But objects positioned behind the object are visible, correctly refracted and everything. (Actually, this started with trying to see textures through a transparent object, but stars are much easier to set up, and they’re not working right for me either.) Now it does work if I drop the Alpha and SpecTra values completely to zero, but then the material just doesn’t look right. If I then increase Alpha even just a little, the stars get washed-out again.
I’ve even tried this in earlier versions of Blender, but it doesn’t work on those, either. I must have a setting wrong somewhere, but I can’t figure it out. If anyone could smack me across the back of the head and point to the button I’ve missed, I’d be grateful!