Awesome Iridium Flare

Ron Lee (ronlee@pcisys.net)
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 06:12:02 -0700

It has been interesting listening to the reports of a Titan
launch.  I am a bit envious.  We just came out of a major
blizzard in Colorad0 (USA) that had all vehicular traffic
BANNED.   

Fortunately, the skies cleared for a Matson predicted -5.6 mag
flare of Iridium #12 (#24837) at 05:05:52 am local on 26 Oct 97.
(Just changed to standard time, so add 7 hours = 12:05:52 UT)

It was still cold and I was trying to find the stop watch.  Just
stepped out the front door where Polaris was visible.  20-30
seconds before the predicted flare, I picked it up at mag 4-5, then
ot slowly brightened until I had to put on sunglasses!  Just 
kidding.

The predicted flare angle was 0.2 and I can only guess that the 
max magnitude was about -8.   It was the BEST one I have seen.
I suspect that it cast a shadow but I did not verify it.
Obviously my magnitude estimate has an real uncertainty to the
exact value, but it was bright....bright enough to see easily
during the day I believe.

Ron Lee