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 is that, having being equipped with three antennas with large reflecting surfaces, in certain conditions they are able to divert to the Earth the sunlight that invests directly generating an unmistakable bright flare of a few seconds that can be seen by naked eye at night, even in the city with a large light pollution. This phenomenon is called “Iridium Flare“.

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THE GALLERY

The newest “Iridium Flares” uploaded

THE “CATCH THE IRIDIUM” MISSION

After more than 20 years of honourable service, Iridium Communication (born from the ashes of the previous company), is going to complete the planned divestment of the first-generation fleet in parallel with the launch of new more modern second-generation satellites called “IRIDIUM NEXT” but unfortunatelly no flare is expected to be generated from those ones.

They remain therefore only a few weeks before that this phenomenon, which has accompanied the nights of many worldwide amateur astronomers in the last twenty years, becomes a mere memory. This “call to action” was born over a year ago with the dual aim of being able to capture at least one “Iridium Flare” for each of the 95 first generation satellites taken into orbit since 1997 and simultaneously become the more complete iridium flares photographic archive ever. This is the aim of the project!

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IRIDIUMS IN NUMBERS

Iridium Numbers

Launched Iridiums
Flaring Iridiums
Tumbling Iridiums
Decayed Iridiums
Caught Iridiums
Pictures Received

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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