Re: Iridium flares

From: Tony Beresford (
Date: Sat Jan 10 2009 - 23:15:25 UTC

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    At 06:46 AM 11/01/2009, Darwin Teague wrote:
    >I decided to try to track an Iridium sat with my telescope, taking 
    >video when a flare happens. I've been watching for a flare at my 
    >location on, but they all seem to require me to travel to 
    >see them. A lot of them seem to be visible about 3 miles west of me.
    >My scope is permanently mounted though.
    >How often should one expect to see a flare from a particular location?
    >Is there software that will show predictions of flares from a 
    >specific location?
    The diameter of the image of the solar disk on the Earth's surface
    for a perfect mirror is  around 4.5 miles so you would get a very good
    flare at 3 miles from the the centre of the flare track. Flares of
    peak magnitude -4 can be observed with larger offsets like 10 miles,
    because the reflecting surfaces are not perfect.
    I  use the iridium flare predictions from
    myself. I dont know where you live, but using a random location
    in NY state there were to mag -7 flares in the last 10 days
    according to the above site.The frequency of flares is somewhat
    latitude and seasonal.
    By the way, a flaring iridium is going to saturate your video image
    very quickly if you can see the mag 6 of the non-flaring satellite.
    Tony Beresford
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