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North Yorkshire - Iridium Flares


Scarborough, UK
2014 Sep 2
Tuesday, Day 245

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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
BST
Visual
Mag
Azimuth Elevation Reflector
August 31, SunSutton Bank 42 19:56:37
-1
158° (SSE)
76°
RH aerial
Bridlington 65 23:44:38
-1
268° (W)
14°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 65 23:44:42
-1
267° (W)
14°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 65 23:44:43
-1
267° (W)
14°
Middle aerial
Whitby 65 23:44:47
-1
268° (W)
14°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 66 23:53:45
-7
269° (W)
11°
Middle aerial
Malton 66 23:53:46
-4
269° (W)
12°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 66 23:53:49
-3
269° (W)
12°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 66 23:53:50
-6
269° (W)
12°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 66 23:53:50
-5
269° (W)
12°
Middle aerial
Whitby 66 23:53:55
-6
270° (W)
12°
Middle aerial
September 1, MonSutton Bank 67 00:02:56
-2
270° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
Malton 8 03:10:26
-1
115° (ESE)
21°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 8 03:10:28
-3
115° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 8 03:10:30
-1
115° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 8 03:10:31
-2
115° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Whitby 8 03:10:35
-1
114° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Malton 84 06:03:39
-1
26° (NNE)
35°
RH aerial
York 84 06:03:38
-4
27° (NNE)
34°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 84 06:03:41
-1
26° (NNE)
35°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 84 06:03:44
-5
27° (NNE)
34°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 80 19:50:37
-3
157° (SSE)
74°
RH aerial
Malton 80 19:50:39
-1
165° (SSE)
74°
RH aerial
York 80 19:50:42
-2
159° (SSE)
74°
RH aerial
York 72 23:56:53
-1
271° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
Malton 72 23:56:57
-2
272° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 72 23:57:00
-2
272° (W)
11°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 72 23:57:01
-3
272° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 72 23:57:01
-2
272° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
Whitby 72 23:57:06
-3
272° (W)
10°
Middle aerial
September 2, TueBridlington 61 03:04:15
-1
117° (ESE)
21°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 61 03:04:18
-1
116° (ESE)
21°
Middle aerial
York 19 03:13:27
-5
118° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 19 03:13:33
-8
118° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
Malton 19 03:13:33
-3
118° (ESE)
25°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 19 03:13:35
-1
119° (ESE)
26°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 19 03:13:38
-2
118° (ESE)
26°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 19 03:13:37
-3
118° (ESE)
25°
Middle aerial
Whitby 19 03:13:42
-3
118° (ESE)
25°
Middle aerial
York 12 05:57:43
-6
26° (NNE)
32°
RH aerial
Malton 12 05:57:43
-2
26° (NNE)
33°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 12 05:57:45
-1
25° (NNE)
33°
RH aerial
Whitby 12 05:57:48
-1
25° (NNE)
34°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 12 05:57:48
-8
26° (NNE)
32°
RH aerial
September 3, WedYork 97 03:07:18
-3
119° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
Malton 97 03:07:24
-5
120° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 97 03:07:24
-2
119° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 97 03:07:27
-4
120° (ESE)
25°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 97 03:07:28
-5
119° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 97 03:07:30
-6
120° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
Whitby 97 03:07:33
-6
119° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
York 86 05:51:43
-2
24° (NNE)
31°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 86 05:51:48
-2
25° (NNE)
31°
RH aerial
September 4, ThuYork 7 03:01:05
-1
121° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 7 03:01:11
-1
121° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Malton 7 03:01:12
-2
121° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 7 03:01:15
-5
122° (ESE)
24°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 7 03:01:16
-2
121° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 7 03:01:18
-3
121° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
Whitby 7 03:01:21
-2
121° (ESE)
23°
Middle aerial
York 8 03:10:26
-1
123° (ESE)
27°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 8 03:10:32
-1
123° (ESE)
27°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 52 05:45:48
-1
24° (NNE)
31°
RH aerial
Malton 52 05:45:48
-4
24° (NNE)
30°
RH aerial
Dalby Forest 52 05:45:49
-2
24° (NNE)
30°
RH aerial
York 52 05:45:48
-4
24° (NNE)
29°
RH aerial
Whitby 52 05:45:52
-2
24° (NNE)
30°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 52 05:45:53
-3
25° (NNE)
29°
RH aerial
September 5, FriMalton 37 02:54:53
-1
123° (ESE)
21°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 37 02:54:57
-1
123° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Bridlington 37 02:54:57
-2
124° (SE)
22°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 37 02:55:00
-1
123° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
Whitby 37 02:55:03
-1
123° (ESE)
22°
Middle aerial
York 61 03:04:13
-2
125° (SE)
25°
Middle aerial
Sutton Bank 61 03:04:19
-3
125° (SE)
25°
Middle aerial
Malton 61 03:04:20
-1
125° (SE)
26°
Middle aerial
Dalby Forest 61 03:04:24
-1
125° (SE)
27°
Middle aerial
Scarborough 61 03:04:26
-1
125° (SE)
27°
Middle aerial
Whitby 61 03:04:29
-1
125° (SE)
27°
Middle aerial
Malton 10 05:39:52
-1
23° (NNE)
29°
RH aerial
York 10 05:39:52
-3
23° (NNE)
28°
RH aerial
Sutton Bank 10 05:39:57
-3
23° (NNE)
28°
RH aerial
September 6, SatYork 35 02:58:00
-5
127° (SE)
24°
Middle aerial
York 13 05:33:56
-3
22° (NNE)
26°
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