Monroe's Astronomy Pictures / Iridium flare 1


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Iridium flare 1

This is a photograph of sunlight reflecting off of the antennas of an Iridium communications satellite, taken in early 2000 from Enterprise, Alabama. Iridium is a constellation of about 70 low Earth orbiting satellites used to provide world wide cellular telephone-like communications services. Their antennas are highly reflective, and when the geometry between the observer, the sun, and the satellite is just right, its brightness increases dramatically for a few seconds. These flares can be predicted. Email me from the home page if you'd like to know how to see an Iridium flare from your location.