Re: Bright flash - Iridium flare?

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Wed Aug 18 2010 - 17:28:21 UTC

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    On Wednesday 18 August 2010 02:26, Ted Molczan wrote:
    > Mike McCants advises that he has only seen long flares from MetOp A -
    > spanning a minute or so - not the few seconds that Dave observed. I just
    > checked's experimental MetOp A flare predictor, and it predicts
    > a flare on the pass in question, but much lower in the sky.
    I've seen quite a number of MetOp-A flares and they are very similar to 
    Iridium flares. But magnitudes shouldn't exceed mag -5. Like bright Iridium 
    flares the very bright part lasts just two or three seconds but you can see 
    the building up and fading of the flare for up to half a minute or so.
    The main flaring surfaces of MetOp-A are the ASCAT antennas but using TLEs 
    directly from Eumetsat for the epoch of observation (and being told that 
    MetOp-A was in its nominal attitude at the respective time) there would not 
    have been a bright flare from them. Around passage of the zenith MetOp-A 
    should have shown a fairly steady mag 2 which would have been easily visible 
    at a dark site. 
    So my verdict is that it wasn't MetOp. Maybe a meteor coming straight down?
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    Seesat-l mailing list

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