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Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Iridium Flare Near Mars (18 August 6:07 pm)

South-Western sky at twilight-

For Adelaideans there will be a bit of a treat tomorrow (18 August) in the twilight. There will be an extremely bright Iridium Flare near Mars and Saturn. While the flare occurs at around civil twilight, it is brighter than Venus, so should be easily seen. However, unlike International Space Station passes, the flares last only a few seconds so you have to be alert to catch them. The flare is predicted at 18:07:31, but you should start watching a minute or so beforehand just in case the timing changes (and to make sure you are looking at the right bit of sky).

While the timing should be similar for most of Adelaide, you can get exact predictions for your site at Heavens Above. My guide to imaging Iridium Flares is here (but in the twilight 15 second exposures are far to long, one second or less are needed)

Flare Details (from Heavens Above)
Date: 18 August 2016
Time: 18:07:31
Brightness: -8
Altitude: 66°
Azimuth: 158°
Satellite: Iridium 60
Distance to satellite: 860 km
Angle off flare centre-line: 0.2°
Distance to flare centre: 3 km
Flare producing antenna: right
Sun altitude: -4.8°

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Thanks for the heads up Ian .... I looked up Heavens-Above.com and I've got a very bright one coming up soon over my house.

August 20 17:58:21 Mag -8.3 68° 159° (SSE) Iridium 45 2 km (W)

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