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 constellation composed of 66 telecommunications satellites (called “IRIDIUM“) that allowed the realization 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), has started 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 months before that this phenomenon, which has accompanied the nights of many worldwide amateur astronomers in the last twenty years, becomes a mere memory. Before that happens, however, we would like to be able to take at least a picture of one “Iridium Flare” for each of the first-generation satellites still in use. This is the aim of the project!

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IRIDIUMS IN NUMBERS

Iridium Numbers

Iridiums Launched
Iridiums still in Orbit
Iridiums Out of Control
Iridiums Decayed
Iridiums Caught
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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