Re: New online article about spotting Iridium flares

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Sun May 23 2004 - 04:11:52 EDT

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    Tom Wagner wrote:
    >Also, I read, "Typically, the expected lifetime of a 
    >satellite is 5 to 8 years."
    >Does this mean that they typically decay in that amount 
    >of time?
    I think Kevin is correct about the electronics, but they 
    may also have in mind to deorbit them (actually remove 
    from orbit, not move to a graveyard orbit like geosats, 
    which for some inexplicable reason is called "deorbiting").  
    Remember there was much talk about the entire constellation 
    being brought down.  
    >I think the illustration of the flaring Iridium satellite 
    >flaring is not accurate though.
    I'm not sure what that little composite illustration means,
    but the flare itself, a time exposure, is correct.  But it
    does look like they show a reflection off the top of the
    satellite, which is not what makes the flares, of course.
    Mike and I saw two fairly bright solar panel flares less 
    than one minute apart on Saturday evening, Iridium 86 "?" 
    and Iridium 13, predicted by Rob Matson's Iridflar -- 
    between 2:24:00 and 2:25:00 May 23 UTC, from BCRC.
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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