Iridium Flares

After buying a telescope in the spring of 2007, I searched the internet for astronomy information. I stumbled on a very interesting website called maintained by Chris Peat in Germany. Everything you need to know about viewing satellites in the night sky. The most interesting feature I found was Iridium Flares... when the sun briefly reflects off the highly reflective "main mission antennas" of an Iridium Satellite, resulting in what looks like a shooting star, but much slower, and much brighter. Once you enter your location, it can tell you the exact time, direction, altitude above the horizon, and even the estimated brightness, of upcoming flares visible from your location. This makes them very predictable, and easy to photograph.

The above photo was taken from my front yard, looking ESE, at 3:27AM, on August 1, 2007.

September 3, 2007, 9:03PM, from the side of my house, looking straight north. I shot from directly under the power lines, because I needed the utility pole to block the street light on the next pole up the street.

September 29, 2007 Looking straight south, at a flare passing right through the constellation of Orion. It was kinda cloudy, and getting pretty light outside at 6:00AM



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