RE: double iridium flare

From: Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@saic.com)
Date: Wed Apr 24 2002 - 18:11:12 EDT

  • Next message: Pinizzotto,Russell: "GRACE 1 and 2"

    Hi Peter,
    
    Welcome to the list.
    
    > When I was out to see iridium 10 flare on Friday 19 April,
    > 20:18:25 UT, I saw a double flare. I saw a flare at about
    > 20:18:18, thinking it was iridium 10, flaring early. I
    > noticed it was quite bright, about magnitude -3. When it
    > was quickly fading, I noticed another object. This object,
    > which flared at 20:18:25, flared in about the same place
    > as the first. I assume this was iridium 10 as predicted
    > (my watch was accurately set of course). This one still
    > was a bit brighter than the predicted magnitude -1.
    
    The first satellite was Iridium 86, which although it is
    in a parking orbit (and thus the ? identifier following its
    name), still tends to flare quite reliably.
    
    > So now I ask: "What did I see?" I read something about
    > iridiums flaring twice, but I really think I saw two
    > distinct objects.
    
    You did indeed!  The second was Iridium 10, as you surmised.
    Double flares are possible when the solar arrays produce
    one of the pair.  These solar array flares are predictable using
    IRIDFLAR 2.1.  Indeed, you will have a number of Iridium solar
    array flares coming up starting on the 26th, though they will
    be occurring during evening twilight with the sun less than
    7 degrees below the horizon.  Still, you might want to try
    a few for fun.
    
    Best,
    Rob
    
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