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

Brian Hunter (bkh@chem.QueensU.CA)
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 13:31:35 -0500

We are splitting hairs but, as one of the ones who coined the Iridium Flare
term, I agree with Jay.

Glints are brief flashes.  For example MOS 1-A, is spinning and produces a
pair of brief flashes, glints, with an 8.6 second period.  The brighter ones
are easy for a naked eye.  The fainter ones, which are not in the middle of
the bright ones, require binoculars (at least in my back yard).   On the
other hand, the Iridium satellites produce a brightening that rises
relatively slowly and then fades.  I refer to this as a flare.  The
difference is qualitative but real.  The Iridium satellites are not the only
ones to show the more gradual phenomenon.  Several have commented that the
DMSP series does the same thing but in a less spectacular or predictable


Brian K. Hunter,                              Department of Chemistry
Professor                                        Queen's University                   Kingston, Ontario
(613)-545-2620                                Canada   K7L 3N6