Iridium Flare as visible to the naked eye (above) and as photographed using a reflex (bottom)

what is an iridium flare?

Since 1997 the Iridium SSC company has launched in orbit around the Earth a total of 95 satellites (operatives and spares) in order to realize a constellation composed of 66 telecommunications satellites (called “IRIDIUM“) that allowed the achieve of what until then had not yet been possible: to reach by phone any corner of the world thanks to the use of a satellite device.

An interesting feature of this fleet of satellites was that, having being equipped with three antennas with large reflecting surfaces, in certain conditions they were able to divert to the Earth the sunlight that invests directly generating an unmistakable bright flare of a few seconds that could be seen by naked eye at night, even in the city with a large light pollution. This phenomenon was named “Iridium Flare“.

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The newest “Iridium Flares” uploaded


After more than 20 years of honourable service, Iridium Communication (born from the ashes of the previous company), completed in late 2019 the planned divestment of the first-generation satellites switching them with a more modern second-generation version called “IRIDIUM NEXT” which, unfortunatelly, are not able to generated the famous flares.

This “call to action” was born in early 2018 with a dual aim: to take at least an “Iridium Flare” picture for each of the 95 first generation satellites in orbit since 1997 and simultaneously to become the more complete iridium flares photographic archive ever.  This is the aim of the project!



Iridium Numbers

Launched Iridiums
Caught Iridiums
Pictures Received
Countries Involved
Hunters Involved


Catch the Iridium now!

To achieve this mission, we need the collaboration of the greatest number of amateur astronomers possible! We Want You!

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