IRIDIUM FLARES

Satellite flare (also known as satellite glint) is the phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites (such as antennas or solar panels) reflecting sunlight directly onto the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright "flare".

Iridium satellite flare

The Iridium communication satellites have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas, 120 degrees apart and at 40 degree angles with the main bus. The forward antenna faces the direction in which the satellite is travelling. Occasionally an antenna will reflect sunlight directly down to the Earth, creating a predictable and quickly moving illuminated spot of about 10 km diameter. To an observer this looks like an extremely bright flare in the sky with a duration of a few seconds.

Ranging up to -8 magnitude (rarely to a brilliant -9.5), some of the flares are so bright that they can be seen at daytime; but they are most impressive at night. This flashing has been some annoyance to astronomers, as the flares occasionally disturb observations and can damage sensitive equipment.

When not flaring, the satellites are often visible crossing the night sky at a typical magnitude of 6, similar to a dim star.
(definition taken from Wikipedia)

All Iridium flares photographs were taken with a CANON A630 digital camera.







Iridium-56 Flare
Satellite: Iridium-56
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: April 29, 2008 / 05:25:06
Intensity(Mag): -4
Alt.: 30 // Azimuth: 17 (NNE)
Iridium-56

Flare produced by the Iridium-56 satellite.



Iridium-56

Constellations near Iridium-56 flare.
In this image all constellations near the flare where drawn.
Notice the Delphinus characteristic triangles at the image top.



Iridium-56 detailed view

Detailed view of Iridium-56 flare





Iridium-59 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: July 13, 2008 / 18:22:30
Intensity(Mag): -1
Alt.: 31 // Azimuth: 357 (N)
Iridium-59

Flare produced by the Iridium-59 satellite.



Iridium-59

Constellations near Iridium-59 flare.
In this image all constellations near the flare where drawn.
Notice Bootes and Corona Borealis constellations on the right side.



Iridium-59

Detailed view of Iridium-59 flare





Iridium-31 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: July 18th, 2008 / 18:01:08
Intensity(Mag): -1
Alt.: 32 // Azimuth: 345 (NNW)
Iridium-31

Flare produced by the Iridium-31 satellite.




Iridium-31

Detailed view of Iridium-31 flare





Iridium-25 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: February 20th, 2009 / 19:15:20 local time
Intensity(Mag): -3
Alt.: 62 // Azimuth: 43 (NE)
Iridium-25

Flare produced by the Iridium-25 satellite.






Iridium-37 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: April 15th, 2009 / 18:22:29 local time
Intensity(Mag): -5
Alt.: 44 // Azimuth: 8 (N)
Iridium-37

Flare produced by the Iridium-37 satellite.






Iridium-52 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro/Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: April 30th, 2009 / 19:06 local time
Intensity(Mag): -7
Alt.:3162 // Azimuth: 19 (NNE)
Iridium-52

Flare produced by the Iridium-52 satellite.






Iridium-67 Flare
Observer's Location: Buenos Aires/Argentina [ 34 31' 43''S, 58 28' 48''W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: October 12th, 2009 / 20:07:09 local time
Intensity(Mag): -6
Alt.: 59 // Azimuth: 56 (ENE)
Iridium-67

Flare produced by the Iridium-67 satellite.





Iridium-76 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: August 1st, 2010 / 18:12:29 local time
Intensity(Mag): -3
Alt.: 35 degrees // Azimuth: 352 deg
Iridium-76

Flare produced by the Iridium-76 satellite.





Iridium-94 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: August 21th, 2010 / 18:20:50 local time
Intensity(Mag): -5
Alt.: 44 degrees // Azimuth: 0 deg
Iridium-94

Flare produced by the Iridium-94 satellite.





Iridium-31 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: August 22th, 2010 / 18:17:25 local time
Intensity(Mag): -1
Alt.: 43 degrees // Azimuth: 357 (N) deg
Iridium-31

Flare produced by the Iridium-31 satellite.





Iridium-37 Flare
Observer's Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Brazil [ 22.9161S, 43.2261W ]
Local Time: Eastern Brazil Standard Time (GMT - 3:00)
Date & Local Time: August 31th, 2010 / 19:17:25 local time
Intensity(Mag): -4
Alt.: 38 degrees // Azimuth: 28 (NNE) deg
Iridium-31

Flare produced by the Iridium-37 satellite.



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