Iridium Flare

Colin_P

Veteran
I've seen loads of satellite fly overs and always love watching the ISS zoom over but tonight, just now, I saw my first Iridium Flare.

An amazing thing to behold.

I've checked it out on Heavens above and it wasn't my imagination.

http://www.heavens-above.com/flaredetails.aspx?fid=0&lat=51.53487&lng=-0.73214&loc=Unspecified&alt=0&tz=CET

For those who are wondering what on Earth (literally) I'm on about, Iridium Flares are reflected sunlight of the Iridium satellites. There are about 60 odd of these Iridium Satellites zooming round and round above us.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTGVuPr9Epg
 

Cycling Naturalist

Legendary Member
Location
Llangollen
Great stuff! I remember the excitement the first time I saw the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.
 

S.Giles

Guest
I'm ashamed to admit I'd never heard of 'iridium flares', but now I want to see one!

Ditto on the moons of Jupiter comment above. I once spent several hours restoring a telescope that had been languishing in a friend's shed for many years, and was amazed to see moons orbiting Jupiter with it.
 

Doseone

Veteran
Location
Brecon
So is an Iridium Flare just an unspecified satellite sighting?

I got new binoculars this week and had just gone out to look at the moon when something bright tracked overhead. It was brighter than ISS, I checked Heavens Above too and the closest I could find in terms of time, altitude etc was a Russian rocket body:wacko:

I also saw Orion Nebula and Jupiters moons. I'd like a telescope really but they seem very complicated!
 

outlash

also available in orange
What people often think are 'shooting stars' are in fact iridium flares and the like. Light pollution is the biggest obstacle to seeing anything outside of the solar system but even a cheap(ish) telescope or decent binoculars will give you eye popping views of the moon & planets.

Tony.
 

Tim Hall

Guest
Location
Crawley
So is an Iridium Flare just an unspecified satellite sighting?
No. Iridium satellites are comms satellites with huge great antenna arrays. When these catch the sun just right they get momentarily brighter. The heavens above website has predictions based on whatever location you want to observe from.

I was at a campsite in Cornwall once that had a resident astronomer, so we were doing stargazing. I spotted a satellite which I pointed out to the woman next to me. Just then it revealed itself to be an Iridium satellite, by doing the flaring thing. The woman next to me wondered what was happening. I explained it was the end of the world and we had 30 seconds left. I don't think she believed me.
 
I was in Iceland recently and spent time searching for Northern lIghts

On a couple of occasions, we had clear nights and no light pollution

Playing with the camera to set up focus and exposures was an enlightening experience with an amazing array of colours and stars being picked up which were not visible to the naked eye
 
OP
Colin_P

Colin_P

Veteran
I'd never seen one either despite looking up a fair bit. I see loads of satellites but last night, by chance, an actual flare.

Keep looking up there!
 

TVC

Guest
I use the phone app ISS Detector. The free version also includes the iridium satellites. It gives you the times, with a countdown and a compass to point you at it. I recommend it.
 

Levo-Lon

Guru
All things space facinate me. Mate just got a nice telescope that you put in data or coordinates and it finds stuff for you..brilliant thing, but you do need a bit of room for it ,as said the city light polution is the main prob..and the bloody uk weather
 

Gravity Aided

Legendary Member
Location
Land of Lincoln
[QUOTE 3575098, member: 9609"]I have heard or Iridium flares but never seen one (and I do spend a bit of time watching the night sky)
The other phenomena that I have am aware of but never seen is; apparently when the sun is setting you can get a green flash, very rare I believe but they do happen.[/QUOTE]
You get the right layering in the atmosphere, you can get a green flash, same reason you get red in a sunset. I've seen a few, seems easier to see on the ocean. Ive seen a couple of terrestrial ones, but I live in a very flat place.
 

Doseone

Veteran
Location
Brecon
I was in Iceland recently and spent time searching for Northern lIghts

On a couple of occasions, we had clear nights and no light pollution

Playing with the camera to set up focus and exposures was an enlightening experience with an amazing array of colours and stars being picked up which were not visible to the naked eye
Sorry Cunobelin loads of questions for you on this........
How was the trip and did you see aurora?
What camera/ lens were you using?
What settings did you use and how did the pictures turn out?
Thanks
 
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