Standard Iridium Report Format

Jim Varney (
Wed, 6 May 1998 21:47:44 -0700

After Paul Maley issued his call for Iridium observations, I sent a note 
suggesting a standard reporting format.  He asked that I send it out on 

I spent no more than 15 minutes on this, so if there are any oversights or 
errors, please comment.

yyyymmdd hhmmss.s catno Ir M  Mp   Mo  CmpStar Elset Epoch    Comments 
19980507 030104.4 12345 64 L -2.1 -1.6 alp CMa 98115.19857782 F'F 2 sec f
19980507 031214.5 23456 67 R -6.5 -7   none    98114.20457782 F
19980507 120014.3 21112 14 F -2.5 -2   Jupiter 98115.58457257 F
* Col 1 Date (UTC) of observation.
* Col 10 Time (UTC) of observed maximum brightness.
* Col 19 catno is the USSPACECOM catalog number from the elset used for the 
flare prediction.
* Col 25 Ir no is the Iridium number designation.  Both it and the catno 
are provided to eliminate the common name ambiguities. 
* Col 28 M is the MMA surface doing the reflecting.  L=left, R=right and 
* Col 30 Mp is predicted flare magnitude, with leading + or -.
* Col 35 Mo is the observed flare magnitude, also with leading + or -.
* Col 40 CmpStar is the Comparison Star used by observer to judge Mo.  Use 
the standard astronomical catalog format.  First three letters is the Bayer 
or Flamsteed designator, second is the standard three-letter constellation 
abbreviation.  Examples: Gamma Virgo = gam Vir, Eta Bootes = eta Boo, 25 
Hercules = 25 Her, etc.  Planets: use complete word.
* Col 48 Elset epoch.  Copy the entire epoch from the elset used to predict 
the flare.
* Col 63 F designates a single flare.
         F'F means a double flare.  F' indictates reported time was for 
first flare.  2 sec f means flare #2 followed 2 seconds later.
         FF' is a double flare with time on the second one.  In that case 
use 3 sec p, meaning the first flare was 3 seconds preceding.
         No F is No Flare seen (Mo left blank).
         Or other comments.

(I realize there's a conflict with the PPAS use of "F" for sharp flash, but 
F for flare is such a natural I don't know what else to suggest).

 -- Jim

Jim Varney
Member, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society