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North Yorkshire - Iridium Flares


Scarborough, UK
2014 Oct 30
Thursday, Day 303

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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
October 30, ThuWhitby 32 06:08:01
-2
133° (SE)
15°
LH aerial
Scarborough 32 06:08:03
-3
133° (SE)
15°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 32 06:08:05
-1
132° (SE)
15°
LH aerial
Bridlington 32 06:08:05
-4
133° (SE)
15°
LH aerial
Malton 32 06:08:09
-1
132° (SE)
15°
LH aerial
York 57 19:30:16
-1
12° (NNE)
21°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 57 19:30:24
-2
12° (NNE)
20°
LH aerial
October 31, FriWhitby 59 06:10:56
-2
136° (SE)
17°
LH aerial
Scarborough 59 06:10:58
-1
136° (SE)
18°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 59 06:11:00
-3
136° (SE)
17°
LH aerial
Bridlington 59 06:11:00
-1
137° (SE)
18°
LH aerial
Malton 59 06:11:03
-4
136° (SE)
17°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 59 06:11:05
-4
135° (SE)
16°
LH aerial
York 59 06:11:09
-4
135° (SE)
16°
LH aerial
Bridlington 20 17:17:45
-3
31° (NNE)
64°
LH aerial
Malton 20 17:17:47
-2
35° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Scarborough 20 17:17:49
-7
32° (NNE)
64°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 20 17:17:49
-2
34° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Whitby 20 17:17:53
-3
34° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
York 60 19:23:52
-1
13° (NNE)
24°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 60 19:23:58
-1
13° (NNE)
24°
LH aerial
November 1, SatWhitby 95 06:04:59
-1
137° (SE)
16°
LH aerial
Scarborough 95 06:05:01
-2
137° (SE)
17°
LH aerial
Bridlington 95 06:05:02
-2
137° (SE)
17°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 95 06:05:03
-1
136° (SE)
16°
LH aerial
Bridlington 3 17:11:39
-4
36° (NE)
65°
LH aerial
Scarborough 3 17:11:43
-2
37° (NE)
64°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 3 17:11:43
-1
39° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
Whitby 3 17:11:47
-1
38° (NE)
63°
LH aerial
November 2, SunScarborough 20 04:48:59
-1
186° (S)
36°
LH aerial
Bridlington 20 04:49:03
-2
187° (S)
36°
LH aerial
Malton 45 05:39:34
-1
168° (SSE)
32°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 45 05:39:34
-4
166° (SSE)
32°
LH aerial
York 45 05:39:38
-3
167° (SSE)
32°
LH aerial
Whitby 32 06:07:51
-1
141° (SE)
20°
LH aerial
Scarborough 32 06:07:53
-1
142° (SE)
20°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 32 06:07:55
-2
141° (SE)
20°
LH aerial
Malton 32 06:07:58
-3
141° (SE)
19°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 32 06:08:00
-6
140° (SE)
19°
LH aerial
York 32 06:08:04
-7
140° (SE)
19°
LH aerial
Bridlington 76 17:05:30
-5
37° (NE)
66°
LH aerial
Malton 76 17:05:31
-1
42° (NE)
64°
LH aerial
Scarborough 76 17:05:33
-2
39° (NE)
65°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 76 17:05:34
-1
41° (NE)
64°
LH aerial
Whitby 76 17:05:37
-1
41° (NE)
65°
LH aerial
York 32 19:11:16
-2
15° (NNE)
28°
LH aerial
Malton 32 19:11:19
-1
14° (NNE)
29°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 32 19:11:23
-3
15° (NNE)
28°
LH aerial
November 3, MonWhitby 22 04:52:02
-1
192° (SSW)
35°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 22 04:52:06
-1
192° (SSW)
35°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 22 04:52:05
-6
190° (S)
35°
LH aerial
Malton 22 04:52:09
-2
191° (S)
35°
LH aerial
York 22 04:52:11
-5
190° (S)
35°
LH aerial
Whitby 58 06:01:54
-1
141° (SE)
18°
LH aerial
Scarborough 58 06:01:56
-2
141° (SE)
19°
LH aerial
Bridlington 58 06:01:57
-3
142° (SE)
19°
LH aerial
Dalby Forest 58 06:01:58
-1
141° (SE)
18°
LH aerial
Malton 58 06:02:02
-1
141° (SE)
18°
LH aerial
York 58 19:05:04
-7
17° (NNE)
29°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 58 19:05:11
-3
17° (NNE)
29°
LH aerial
November 4, TueSutton Bank 25 04:46:01
-3
192° (SSW)
35°
LH aerial
York 25 04:46:07
-4
192° (SSW)
35°
LH aerial
Sutton Bank 95 06:04:53
-5
144° (SE)
21°
LH aerial
York 95 06:04:57
-4
144° (SE)
21°
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