Observing the Iridium Flares from the ISS - 3D Simulations and Predictions

From: reeves10@satx.rr.com
Date: Thu Jan 13 2011 - 18:48:08 UTC

  • Next message: sciteach@mchsi.com: "Re: Observing the Iridium Flares from the ISS - 3D Simulations and Predictions"

    Yes, it is possible to observe and photograph Iridium flares from the ISS.  In fact it was done 8 years ago during Expedition 6.  Rob Matson, creator of the Skymap program, came up with a version that corelated the Iridium reflection beams with the path of the ISS.  Back then I was in email contact with Expedition 6 Science Officer Don Pettit.  Rob asked me to see if Don would be interested in trying to see the flares.  Well, Don Pettit has all the curiosity of a bright-eyed child in a toy store and he bit into that project with a vengence.  Rob would send me the predictions along with a graphic showing the expected location and I would email them up to the station.  It took a few tries and a little tweaking of the program, but after a while Don was seeing flares as predicted and bagged some of them with the Kodak digital camera they used on the station.  One image even showed dual flares.  After Don left the station, subsequent residents never expressed any interest in cont!
     inuing looking for Iridium flares, so we stopped sending the predictions.  Pettit did the flare observations more as a "hobby" activity, and i was dissapointed when no mention was made of them in the book "Too Far From home" that related the activities of Expedition 6 whern Columbia was lost.
    Robert Reeves
    Looking at the nice photographs recently taken from the ISS of Earth and sky,
    I started wondering if also the Iridium Flares could be potentially 
    photographed from the International Space Station.
    By adjusting my program I performed some 3D simulations and generated several
    predictions. I have uploaded the results of my analysis along with a few 
    pictures and a 3D stereo video of simulated Iridium flares on the following 
    It would be nice to see also a real photograph!
    Best Regards,
    Seesat-l mailing list

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 13 2011 - 18:49:16 UTC