Lunar Iridium Flare #4

From: Ron Lee (
Date: Sat Sep 09 2000 - 11:00:24 PDT

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    Several days ago Rob Matson alerted me to an upcoming lunar flare from
    Iridium #12 (24837) on 9 Sep 2000 at about 09:40:36 UT.  I set the
    alarm for 0900 UT, then wake up, observe stars through the skylight
    and begin the usual internal debate:  get up or stay in bed.  After
    about five minutes I get up.
    Lug the 8" telescope out, plug in the extension cord and start the
    digital setting circle alignment process.  Betelgeuse and Capella are
    used but are not far enough part for a great alignment.  Then throwing
    in the wrong star from Gemini I have to start over.  Less than five
    minutes to the flare.
    By now a wide thin cloud has drifted over the alignment stars but I
    manage to find them anyway.  Find a semi bright star near the flare
    point and note the alignment offset.  Now under three minutes to the
    Star hop west about 20 arcminutes to find other easily found stars.
    Great.  Now down about one degree.   About 1.5 minutes to the flare
    and the cloud is moving away.  Check the Skymap plot and it looks
    good.  One minute to go.
    A final check between the chart and the star field and I have the
    right place.  30 seconds.
    Now relax and wait.  A bright object appears at the bottom of the
    field of view, then dims about a magnitude with some possible
    fluctuations.  Look at the watch...right on time.  Right track and
    I found my 4th lunar Iridium flare.  Magnitude in the 8-8.5 range
    initially before dimming.  This is less accurate than normal due to
    the problems in acquiring the right star field but still close to
    Rob's predicted magnitude.
    It was visible the entire field of view (perhaps .75 degree).
    Ron Lee
    Falcon, CO USA
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