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North Yorkshire - Iridium Flares


Tyneside, UK
2014 Nov 24
Monday, Day 328

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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
November 23, SunBridlington 31 17:10:59
-2
43° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Malton 31 17:11:01
-4
46° (NE)
61°
LH aerial
Scarborough 31 17:11:02
-3
45° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 31 17:11:03
-6
46° (NE)
61°
LH aerial
Whitby 31 17:11:06
-6
46° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
November 24, MonWhitby 95 04:58:10
-3
187° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Scarborough 95 04:58:14
-6
188° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 95 04:58:14
-2
187° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Malton 95 04:58:16
-2
186° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Bridlington 95 04:58:19
-3
188° (S)
26°
LH aerial
York 8 05:59:27
-1
140° (SE)
10°
LH aerial
Bridlington 91 17:04:52
-3
48° (NE)
61°
LH aerial
Scarborough 91 17:04:56
-2
49° (NE)
61°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 91 17:04:56
-1
50° (NE)
60°
LH aerial
Whitby 91 17:05:00
-1
50° (NE)
60°
LH aerial
November 25, TueScarborough 30 04:52:08
-1
188° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Bridlington 30 04:52:12
-2
189° (S)
27°
LH aerial
Bridlington 61 05:53:22
-4
142° (SE)
10°
LH aerial
Bridlington 59 16:58:45
-6
50° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Malton 59 16:58:46
-1
53° (NE)
61°
LH aerial
Scarborough 59 16:58:48
-3
52° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 59 16:58:49
-1
52° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
Whitby 59 16:58:52
-2
52° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
November 26, WedMalton 58 04:55:21
-1
194° (SSW)
25°
LH aerial
York 58 04:55:24
-3
193° (SSW)
26°
LH aerial
Whitby 97 05:56:11
-2
145° (SE)
12°
LH aerial
Scarborough 97 05:56:12
-1
145° (SE)
12°
LH aerial
Bridlington 97 05:56:13
-1
145° (SE)
13°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 97 05:56:15
-2
145° (SE)
12°
LH aerial
Malton 97 05:56:19
-3
144° (SE)
12°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 97 05:56:22
-7
144° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
York 97 05:56:26
-7
144° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
Bridlington 95 16:52:37
-2
54° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Scarborough 95 16:52:41
-1
55° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
Whitby 95 16:52:45
-1
56° (NE)
62°
LH aerial
November 27, ThuWhitby 7 05:50:18
-1
145° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
Scarborough 7 05:50:19
-2
146° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
Bridlington 7 05:50:19
-3
146° (SE)
12°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 7 05:50:22
-1
145° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
Malton 7 05:50:26
-1
145° (SE)
11°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 8 05:59:09
-1
148° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
York 8 05:59:13
-1
148° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
Bridlington 30 16:46:28
-4
57° (ENE)
65°
LH aerial
Scarborough 30 16:46:32
-2
58° (ENE)
64°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 30 16:46:32
-1
59° (ENE)
63°
LH aerial
Whitby 30 16:46:35
-1
59° (ENE)
63°
LH aerial
November 28, FriWhitby 61 05:53:03
-4
150° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
Scarborough 61 05:53:04
-3
150° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
Bridlington 61 05:53:05
-2
150° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 61 05:53:08
-6
149° (SSE)
14°
LH aerial
Malton 61 05:53:12
-7
149° (SSE)
13°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 61 05:53:15
-2
149° (SSE)
13°
LH aerial
York 61 05:53:19
-3
149° (SSE)
13°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 58 16:49:33
-1
56° (NE)
70°
LH aerial
November 29, SatSutton Bank 97 05:56:03
-2
153° (SSE)
15°
LH aerial
York 97 05:56:06
-1
153° (SSE)
16°
LH 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