Astronomy · Projects · Iridium Flares

Mag -8 Iridium FlareIridium Flares are interesting events that can be observed several times a week from any given location. They are produced by the highly reflective surfaces of the Iridium constellation of communications satellites which form a relatively dense web across our skies. As they move above us they can reflect sunlight down to Earth causing a brief flare of bright light to be seen. Depending on the geometry the flares can be up to mag -8 which makes them visible even during the daylight. Since the positions of the satellites are known it is possible to accurately predict where when and how bright flares will be and thus taking photos of them is quite straight forward assuming you have a good star map and an accurate watch. The following is a selection of Iridium Flares that I have taken with my Panasonic DMC-FZ7 camera.

Iridium Flare Gallery

DateTimeSatelliteMagnitudeImageExposure TimeAperture
19-05-200823:45:3523-7-7 Iridium Flare30sf/2.8
25-05-200721:46:46N/A-8-8 Iridium Flare1.3sf/8
20-05-200703:28:4752-8Mag -8 Iridium Flare30sf/2.8
03-11-200619:06:02N/A-8Iridium Flare30sf/4
19-10-200621:20:49N/A-6Iridium Flare, Plane and Comet15sf/2.8

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