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North Yorkshire - Iridium Flares


Tyneside, UK
2015 Mar 4
Wednesday, Day 63

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Iridium Flares
Pick the Closest:















Astronomy in Yorkshire:


Very Much an "Identified Flying Object"

Occasionally something in the sky will catch your eye, like a slowly moving light that gets very bright and then fades away, all in the space of about five seconds. The chances are that you have spotted one of the sixty or so "Iridium" satellites in orbit.

iridium panelIridiums are fitted with a large, flat and highly polished panel behind behind each of their three aerials. They can occasionally produce glints that nearly rival the Full Moon in brightness.

Because of the very controlled way in which way the satellites orient themselves in space, Iridium 'flares' are highly predictable. Those in the know can wait for them and can be looking in the right direction when they occur.

The table tells you which direction to look and the maximum brightness (Visual Magnitude) to expect. The more negative the figure, the brighter it will be. For comparison, the brightest stars in the Sky are magnitude -1, Venus at its most brilliant is -4 and a Full Moon is -11.

Sometimes the flare will be a little brighter or dimmer than expected because of minor deviations in the satellite's orientation.


All Locations

One thing you can do is see how different the same flare appears from a location a few miles away. It might be dimmer, brighter, and it might happen a few seconds earlier or later as the satellite travels round its orbit. It takes nearly 15 seconds for a flare event to travel across Yorkshire.

Times are local UK so will show Summer Time when it is in force.

Date Location Iridium
Number
Time
GMT
Visual
Mag
Azimuth Elevation Reflector
March 3, TueScarborough 91 19:07:49
-1
134° (SE)
54°
RH aerial
Bridlington 91 19:07:52
-2
135° (SE)
54°
RH aerial
March 4, WedBridlington 59 19:01:50
-1
138° (SE)
54°
RH aerial
March 6, FriYork 20 05:38:32
-3
13° (NNE)
39°
RH aerial
Malton 20 05:38:33
-5
12° (NNE)
40°
RH aerial
Scarborough 20 05:38:36
-1
10° (N)
40°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 20 05:38:36
-3
11° (N)
40°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 20 05:38:37
-2
13° (NNE)
39°
RH aerial
Whitby 20 05:38:39
-3
11° (N)
40°
RH aerial
Whitby 32 18:58:41
-1
153° (SSE)
59°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 32 18:58:45
-1
152° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 32 18:58:45
-5
147° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
Malton 32 18:58:47
-2
151° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
York 32 18:58:51
-8
148° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
March 7, SatBridlington 3 05:32:32
-1
11° (N)
39°
RH aerial
York 3 05:32:33
-1
14° (NNE)
37°
RH aerial
Scarborough 3 05:32:36
-3
12° (NNE)
38°
RH aerial
Malton 3 05:32:35
-4
13° (NNE)
38°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 3 05:32:37
-6
12° (NNE)
38°
RH aerial
Whitby 3 05:32:39
-6
12° (NNE)
38°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 3 05:32:38
-1
14° (NNE)
37°
RH aerial
Whitby 58 18:52:39
-3
149° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
Scarborough 58 18:52:42
-9
150° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 58 18:52:42
-3
148° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
Bridlington 58 18:52:46
-3
152° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
Malton 58 18:52:45
-2
147° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
Whitby 29 18:53:06
-3
153° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
Scarborough 29 18:53:10
-2
155° (SSE)
59°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 29 18:53:10
-4
152° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 29 18:53:11
-2
148° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
Bridlington 29 18:53:13
-1
156° (SSE)
59°
RH aerial
Malton 29 18:53:13
-7
152° (SSE)
58°
RH aerial
York 29 18:53:16
-2
149° (SSE)
57°
RH aerial
March 8, SunYork 76 05:26:36
-5
13° (NNE)
36°
RH aerial
Malton 76 05:26:38
-3
12° (NNE)
36°
RH aerial
Scarborough 76 05:26:40
-1
11° (N)
37°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 76 05:26:40
-2
12° (NNE)
36°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 76 05:26:42
-3
13° (NNE)
36°
RH aerial
Whitby 76 05:26:44
-2
12° (NNE)
36°
RH aerial

The data for these predictions are provided by Simone Corbellini, a mathematician and satellite observer who lives in Italy. His own website covers satellite observing and flares in more depth. You can get there from the left hand menu.

Copyright © Robert Christy, all rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited