Re: old reliable "glint", rogue "flare"

Sun, 08 Mar 1998 22:32:17 -0500

Walter Nissen wrote:
> For a long time, satellite observers have distinguished between the
> generic term "flash", which, by the statistical imperative of experience,
> has often been associated with repeated brightenings of tumbling rockets;
> and the more specific term "glint" denoting a (usually single) flash,
> typically associated with the changing solar-satellite-observer angle as a
> satellite moves across the observer's sky.

I would say 'glint' is the more generic term: Specular reflection of
Flash and flare are both glints.  A good example is sun glinting off a car
on the road ahead of you.  It can be quick or continuous.

Flash is a quick, sharp rise and fall in brightness.
Flare is a slower, more gradual rise and fall in brightness.

> "glint" would seem perfectly suited to describe the phenomena observed
> from Iridia.

Yes, it is a glint.  'Flare' describes more accurately.

> (A)  Can anyone identify any way in which "flare" can be distinguished
> from "glint"?
> (B)  Or in which "flare" augments what "glint" communicates?

See above.

> Relative brightness would be a troublesome aspect. 

That shouldn't make any difference.

>  Would
> we need still another term to describe even brighter glints from huge
> booms to be launched in the future? 


 Would a further term emerge to
> describe faint glints from LEOs and a fifth term for even fainter glints
> from GEOs?

> I'm trying to keep an open mind about this, but I can't see any logical
> argument supporting use of "flare".

I hope my examples were logical enough to clarify the issue.

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