Twin Iridium satellite flare imaged over Canberra, Australia

May 17, 2016 | By | 1 Comment
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(Posted 17 May 2016) I had a ‘two for the price of one’ Iridium satellite flare tonight. I went out to photograph a very bright magnitude -7.4 flare in the constellation Leo Major. To my surprise, there was a second Iridium flare. I rechecked the Heavens-Above.com website and discovered there was a ‘fainter’ Iridium flare predicted that I had not noticed. The brighter flare was from the Iridium 54 satellite and reached magnitude -7.4. The second flare occurred eight seconds later reached ‘only’ magnitude -2.8 (still very bright!) and came from sunlight bouncing off one of the antennas of the Iridium 90 satellite. As an aside, the telescope in the image is positioned to block the glare of the Moon.

(c) 2016 Paul Floyd. Iridium 54 and Iridium 90 flared within 8 seconds of each other.

(c) 2016 Paul Floyd. Iridium 54 and Iridium 90 flared within 8 seconds of each other.

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This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.