Ever seen an Iridium Flare?
The Iridium communications satellites turn their solar panels towards the sun at predictable times during their orbits and cause them to brighten dramatically for a few seconds as they pass.
I photographed this one this morning at 4am, not normally a time I’d be up, but the dog was demanding attention and then my Iridium flare app started screaming too! I took the camera out as well; this is the first time I have tried to capture one and am glad I did as the event was bright at mag -8 and passing high in the West.
So go find an app (there are plenty freebies) and have a look – they are very lovely to watch and happen every few days – Happy hunting!
[For the photographers: Canon 650d, Samyang 14mm, ISO 400 for 30 seconds]
After a number of abortive attempts to get my observatory recognised officially by the Minor Planet Centre, the recent long spell of clear weather allowed me to make enough observations of several asteroids over a sufficient period of time to demonstrate an acceptable level of accuracy and Samford Valley Observatory now bears the code Q79. Hurrah.
This code will mean that I can send my observations directly to them rather than through third parties, and even better, can generate lists of expected positions of asteroids (more properly known as ephemerides) without having to enter my location each time, just the code.
Previous attempts to get a code had been scuppered by weather, weather and weather…
And I say ‘You’re Welcome!’
The supremely successful live feed of Asteroid 2012 DA14 which was broadcast throughout the night and culminated in a show on NASA TV attracted over 7 million views and was NASA’s most successful Webcast ever.
For my part, I streamed for around four hours continuously and by token of thanks the NASA Team sent me a certificate and goody bag. A lovely gesture and a great memento to celebrate a fantastic evening!