The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Another Iridium Flare

And after all the excitement of Venus and Mercury, I went out to see if I could capture an Iridium flare.  The center line was about 5 miles from where I live so I drove out there (might not seem like much, but it makes a difference…it was over six times brighter than it would have been where I lived).

Iridium flares are very bright reflections of the Sun off an Iridium communications satellite.  They can be seen during the day they are so bright.  You can find local predictions when they will be visible form your location at Heavens Above.  Satellites were EVERYWHERE tonight.  I got one accidentally in one of my test shots beforehand and saw another one that I mistook for the Iridium satellite at first.  Eventually, I honed in on the right one, zoomed in, and took the shot.

I zoomed in a little more this time.  You can see stars in the background and how much brighter the flare is than the stars.  This is a 20 second exposure so you can see how far the satellite moves in that time and how its brightness changes.  Please, click the image to get a larger version!

So go out and see some Iridium flares!

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March 31, 2010 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Observatories

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