re: Sky + Tel article on Iridiums

Philip Chien (
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 07:09:47 -0400

Ron Lee <> said:

>Perhaps I missed it but missing from that article was an observation
>of monumental/epic importance.....the first sighting of an Iridium
>flare caused by moonlight.   AS we all know, the driving genius behind
>that event was Rob Matson.
>Ron Lee

Ah - but my time machine's been on the whack recently.  It takes a couple
of months from the time an article is completed and the time it appears in
print.  So there's a bunch of 'as we go to press there are umpteen
satellites in orbit' or 'astronomers expect to announce at this month's AAS
meeting', etc. etc.

You don't want to know how many folks I had to bribe to have the
announcement of the agreement between Motorola and Arecibo finalized just
as the article came out!

When I get my time machine fixed I promise to amend the article and include
a mention of the first successful observation of moonlight reflected off of
a satellite.

BTW - since such an authorotative source as "Sky & Telescope" (who some
SeeSat subscribers have been reading since before I was born) considers
"flare" to be the accurate term for describing the Iridiums rapidly
increasing in brightness, hopefully that should end the "flare" vs. "glint"

but - of course, I may be a bit biased when considering the validity of
that particular authority.  ;-)

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.