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North Yorkshire - Iridium Flares


Tyneside, UK
2015 Feb 1
Sunday, Day 32

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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
January 31, SatMalton 40 17:08:44
-2
53° (NE)
73°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 40 17:08:47
-1
52° (NE)
73°
LH aerial
Whitby 40 17:08:50
-1
52° (NE)
74°
LH aerial
Malton 65 18:09:44
-1
178° (S)
39°
RH aerial
February 1, SunBridlington 62 06:45:11
-1
358° (N)
57°
RH aerial
York 77 17:02:32
-7
61° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Malton 77 17:02:35
-2
59° (ENE)
75°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 77 17:02:38
-1
57° (ENE)
75°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 77 17:02:38
-5
60° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Whitby 77 17:02:42
-1
55° (NE)
75°
LH aerial
Whitby 68 18:03:31
-3
178° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 68 18:03:34
-5
178° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Scarborough 68 18:03:35
-2
179° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 68 18:03:34
-1
175° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Malton 68 18:03:36
-6
177° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Bridlington 68 18:03:39
-1
180° (S)
39°
RH aerial
York 68 18:03:39
-2
175° (S)
39°
RH aerial
February 2, MonBridlington 65 06:39:12
-1
359° (N)
55°
RH aerial
Bridlington 82 16:56:25
-2
62° (ENE)
76°
LH aerial
York 82 16:56:24
-1
66° (ENE)
71°
LH aerial
Malton 82 16:56:27
-2
64° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Scarborough 82 16:56:29
-5
62° (ENE)
74°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 82 16:56:29
-3
64° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Whitby 82 16:56:33
-5
63° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Whitby 75 17:57:28
-1
177° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 75 17:57:31
-1
177° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Scarborough 75 17:57:32
-2
178° (S)
39°
RH aerial
Bridlington 75 17:57:35
-5
179° (S)
39°
RH aerial
February 3, TueYork 21 06:42:16
-1
352° (N)
53°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 21 06:42:21
-1
353° (N)
53°
RH aerial
Bridlington 18 16:50:20
-5
68° (ENE)
76°
LH aerial
Malton 18 16:50:21
-1
71° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Scarborough 18 16:50:24
-5
68° (ENE)
75°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 18 16:50:24
-2
69° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Whitby 18 16:50:28
-2
68° (ENE)
74°
LH aerial
York 42 16:50:55
-1
71° (ENE)
73°
LH aerial
Bridlington 42 16:50:57
-2
66° (ENE)
77°
LH aerial
Malton 42 16:50:58
-2
70° (ENE)
74°
LH aerial
Scarborough 42 16:51:01
-5
66° (ENE)
76°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 42 16:51:01
-4
68° (ENE)
74°
LH aerial
Whitby 42 16:51:04
-5
69° (ENE)
75°
LH aerial
February 4, WedYork 70 06:36:16
-2
355° (N)
52°
RH aerial
Malton 70 06:36:20
-1
353° (N)
51°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 70 06:36:21
-3
356° (N)
52°
RH aerial
Bridlington 39 16:44:03
-2
74° (ENE)
75°
LH aerial
Scarborough 39 16:44:07
-1
74° (ENE)
74°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 67 17:54:39
-2
186° (S)
38°
RH aerial
York 67 17:54:44
-2
186° (S)
38°
RH aerial
February 5, ThuYork 64 06:30:21
-1
354° (N)
50°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 64 06:30:26
-2
355° (N)
50°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 72 17:48:31
-2
185° (S)
38°
RH aerial
York 72 17:48:37
-3
186° (S)
38°
RH aerial
February 6, FriSutton Bank 67 06:24:27
-2
356° (N)
48°
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