Thursday, 20 July 2017

Iridium flare, 3rd July 2017

Iridium flare captured on July 3rd.

The video is a sequence of 20 frames with 1sec exposure. The total duration of the satellite visible to the naked eye was ~40 seconds, but the flash has a rapid increase and decrease in brightness at the center of the flare, of a few seconds. It was so bright (magnitude -7.4) that you can clearly see its reflection on the lamp post on the top left. Another Iridium post can be found here.

Iridium 11 flare: stacked images

Iridium 11 flare and other celestial objects for reference

Iridium flares are one of the most surprising events visible to the eye in the night sky. They are extremely bright, more than the planets and night stars. Only the Moon is brighter. Unfortunately these flares will not happen for much longer. The old Iridium satellite constellation is being replaced by a more advanced generation, Iridium Next, but those will not develop such intense flares.