[lug] Iridium Flares

Wayde Allen wallen at boulder.nist.gov
Thu May 11 09:41:28 MDT 2000

The antenna array on the Iridium satellites are very reflective, and if
you happen to be watching the sky when it is positioned to reflect
sunlight directly at you, the result is a flare of light approximately 100
times brighter than Venus. 


You may have heard that the Iridium LLC corporation
<http://www.iridium.com/> went bankrupt several weeks ago, and the current
plans are to de-orbit the entire (77 plus) satellite system
<http://www.spaceviews.com/2000/03/17c.html>. If you are interested in
seeing an Iridium flare, you should do so soon. Tracking information can
be found at <http://www.heavens-above.com/>. 

- Wayde
  (wallen at boulder.nist.gov)

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