RE: Iridium flare

From: David Tiller (
Date: Thu Aug 05 2010 - 16:22:25 UTC

  • Next message: Rob Dale: "Re: Iridium flare"

    There was a very bright ISS pass at his location that culminated at 5h31m13s, 51.2 degrees elevation, and passed NW -> NE. Calsky pegs it at magnitude -4.0, which is almost painfully bright. :-)
    David Tiller
    Lead Consultant/Architect | CapTech Ventures
    -----Original Message-----
    From: on behalf of George Roberts
    Sent: Thu 8/5/2010 12:08 PM
    To: KIM SMOCK;
    Subject: Re: Iridium flare
    Is that true?  Was the sun up?  If so it would have been very hard to see 
    even a very bright satellite flare and wouldn't have been very impressive 
    sight.  Also iridiums tend to mostly not move at all and are only visible 
    usually for about 5 seconds and so you don't see any motion in that short 
    What you describe sounds most like a meteor and my second guess is a rocket 
    launch or fuel dump but it could be a satellite.
    Even though it may visually appear to move upwards it is often moving 
    towards you but getting smaller although grazing meteors (meteors that enter 
    the atmospher for a few dozen miles, then exit back into space all in a 
    straight line) would definitely look like it is going up as it would be.
    1) Was the sun up or were there stars out?
    2) What about it made you think "flame"?
    2a) The color?
    2b) Was there smoke or a smoke trail?
    2c) Was the light coming from more than a tiny point?  Did the light have a 
    shape to it?  Cirlce, tirangle (like a rocket exhaust), line, potato shaped?
    3) How much sky did it cover?
    For example if you try to imagine how it was and now stretch your hand 
    towards the imaginary path and look at the width of your hand right now when 
    it is as far from your face as possible, is it more or less than a hand 
    width?  more or less than a finger width>  10 hand widths?   We need very 
    very rough scales of what you saw.
    - George Roberts
    From: "KIM SMOCK" <>
    Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2010 11:34 AM
    To: <>
    Subject: Iridium flare
    > I saw what may have been an iridium flare. I saw it between 6:15am and 
    > 6:20am eastern standard time, in the northern sky, in North Augusta, South 
    > Carolina.  It was seen from Laurel Lakes Drive, near the intersection of 
    > interstate 20 and highway 25.  It  appeared as a very bright large orange 
    > flame which moved rapidly upwards and away, diminishing and disappearing 
    > into the northeastern sky.  Could someone verify my claim, or direct me to 
    > where I may validate it?  Sort of scary.
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