A simple tutorial
Starting from December 27th, 2019, it is no longer possible to observe iridium flare in the sky. You can therefore contribute to this project by uploading photos of iridium flare already in your possession taken previously on this date or you can try to capture the weak flares that could be produced by the 30 first generation satellites still in orbit but out of order. These satellites, rotating on themselves in an uncontrolled way (tumbling), could (if you are lucky) generate a flare that can be photographed by your camera. Here’s how to do it!
HOW TO PREDICT A FLARE?
There are several ways to know in advance (even with 10 days forecasts) when and where you can hope for an Iridium Flare coming from a tumbling satellite: Heavens Above website is one of them. Surfing on it will be possible, once set your location coordinates, to know all the potential flares that hopefully will be visible in the following days in the selected location.
Another suggested tool is the ISS Detector app available for Android smartphones / tablets and Apple ones that offers the possibility to set automatic reminder for be sure to do not miss any possible flare.
HOW TO CATCH ONE?
To catch an Iridium Flares it is necessary to know some simple basic rules. To be sure to take the whole event, our advice is to shoot for at least 15 seconds in a row. The tripod is therefore a mandatory tool.
We recommend to use lenses with a focal range included between 18mm and 35mm. It is possible to use also 50mm lenses even if it will be necessary to know perfectly the area of the sky affected by the Iridium flare and use an equatorial mount to avoid the stars trails.
Choose so the focal length based on the desired result (landscape presence or not) and your personal experience (shooting with a 18mm is simpler for sure than with a 50 mm)
Finally, set ISOs by doing some field tests a few minutes before the flare event in order to be sure of the goodness of the final result.
Use a remote shooter to avoid micro blurs.upload your picture
DO YOU HAVE AN IPHONE OR IPAD?
If the answer is yes there a good news for you: you can take iridium flares picture even with your phone using NightCap Pro and a simple tripod. You can learn how to do it reading this simple tutorial available in authors website (6 ISS / Satellite Flares). No more excuse now! Go out and gotta catch ’em all!