Re: Reports of an iridium-type flare of the ISS

From: satcom (
Date: Sun Jan 06 2008 - 08:42:54 UTC

  • Next message: John Locker: "Re ISS flare over New York"

    Intrigued by this report I was up early this morning to catch the 0715 48 
    deg pass over the UK.
    48 deg elevation does not produce the best imaging results...especially 
    during morning passes..... ! however ! ....the station did appear to grow in 
    brightness at one stage as it passed through zenith and did produce a slight 
    , if not spectacular flare ( I suspect the NY pass may have been much higher 
    , although I havnt checked )
    Anyway the culprit is the upper section of the starboard array , which , as 
    we know is still fixed following the SARJ failure.
    The nadir section of that array was quite faint , but the opposite side 
    glowed to quite an intense mini flare over about 30 seconds or so as it 
    caught the dawn was also  noticeably orange in colour.
    I hope to have a strip of images available within the next few hours.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 11:02 PM
    Subject: Reports of an iridium-type flare of the ISS
    >I received two reports concerning a recent ISS pass over the New York
    > Metropolitan area
    > which I thought I'd share with everyone on SeeSat-L.   This was a pass 
    > that
    > occurred before
    > sunrise this past Thursday  morning.  Both observers saw the ISS flare to
    > incredible brilliance.
    > The first observer described it as becoming "MUCH brighter than Venus" 
    > while
    > the second estimated
    > the peak magnitude at "minus 6th magnitude."
    > I myself did not see this unusual pass, as I was busy attentively 
    > watching
    > the
    > "inside the eyelid show" at that particular hour.   :/
    > -- joe rao
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------
    > What  a wonderful clear morning- right on schedule, the
    > ISS made a nice and  brilliant pass over me beginning
    > at 5:44 AM in the SSW. Appearing nearly a  third of
    > the way up in the sky (the Earth's shadow was still
    > relatively  high with the late sunrises now) the ISS
    > eventually flared for 3-4 seconds  MUCH brighter than
    > Venus as the ISS passed more than 2/3 up in the  SE,
    > continuing and reddening as it crept slowly to the
    > ENE.
    > The  ISS, Venus, the lovely crescent moon and the skies
    > of spring made it worth  getting delayed on the way to
    > work. I left about 10 minutes later, and got  where I
    > needed to be just in time.
    > That sure beats another cloudy  morning, right?
    > Sam Storch
    > Lindenhurst,  N.Y.
    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > ------------
    > Yesterday  morning, Jan 3, I decided since I was already up, to see what 
    > was
    > expected to be  a great pass of the ISS at 5:45 AM with the ISS moving SW 
    > to
    > NE. The sky was  very clear with the crescent moon, Venus, Saturn and many
    > stars visible. The  temperature was about 14 deg, but I was dressed for 
    > it. The
    > ISS came out of the  earth's shadow in the SSW about one third the way up 
    > and
    > soon became comparable  in brightness to Saturn. Then as it approached its
    > greatest elevation in the  south it grew in brightness like an iridium 
    > flare
    > outshining even Venus by about  two magnitudes for maybe 10 seconds ( i.e. 
    > brighter
    > than Venus for about 10 secs  but about two mag brighter for the middle 
    > few
    > secs). Under very clear skies this  unexpected brilliance was really 
    > amazing. It
    > truly looked like an iridium flare  except that before and after the 
    > greatest
    > brilliancy it was still easily visible  at normal brightness levels. Too 
    > bad
    > most of the usual skywatchers probably  missed it because of the early 
    > viewing
    > time.
    > Anyway, I have never seen  the ISS get that bright - about a momentary 
    > minus
    > 6th magnitude and a sustained  brightness greater than Jupiter and even 
    > Venus
    > which I visually compared it to  several times when it was so bright. 
    > Thought
    > you'd be interested in hearing  about this.
    > Larry Gerstman
    > Long Beach,  N.Y.
    > **************Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.
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