Iridium outbreak

Did you know that a flash of 10 seconds lasts about 2 times a day in the sky? Sometimes she is so strong and bright that she cannot be missed! This is an outbreak of Iridium.

Iridium is a satellite telephone operator, it has 66 satellites that cover the entire surface of the Earth.

The flash is explained by the reflection of the sun's rays from the antennas of the Iridium satellites, and since the position of the satellites is known, and it is known very accurately, we can calculate when, where, with what force, what time the next flash will occur! To do this, there are a number of services and programs:

Web service Heavens Above

First you need to set your location. You have 3 ways:
  1. “Select from map” - indicate on the map (you must also specify the time zone)
  2. “From database” - select from the list on the map
  3. “Edit manually” - enter manually (coordinates)

I want to add that it is better to indicate the location on the map, because even a difference of 1 kilometer is significant, and you may not see the flash (1 minute earlier or later). And if you indicate your location exactly, you will get a very accurate flash schedule (+ - 1 second).


After you have indicated your coordinates, find the inscription “Iridium Flares” - under it there are 4 points:
  1. “Next 24 hrs” - 24 hours ahead flash schedule
  2. “Next 7 days” - 7 days ahead outbreak schedule
  3. “Previous 48 hrs” - a history of outbreaks 48 hours ago
  4. “Daytime flares for 7 days” - Flash schedules that will be visible even during the day! These are flashes whose Intensity is less than -7 (i.e. -7, -8, -9). The maximum flash value is -9.5


Now we “decipher” the outbreak schedule, using the example of the city of Minsk, Belarus. I chose the item “Next 7 days” - the outbreak schedule for 7 days in advance:


As can be seen from the picture, the next outbreak will be on July 28 at 22:49:20 Minsk time.
Decipher the columns:
  • Date - flash date
  • Local Time - local flash time
  • Intensity (Mag) - flash intensity. The lower the value, the stronger the flash. -9.5 - maximum flash power
  • Alt - “flash height” above horizon. For example, 25 ° - low above the horizon, 80 ° - almost at the top
  • Azimuth - where will the flash be:
    • 0 ° - exactly in the north
    • 90 ° - in the east
    • 180 ° - in the south
    • 270 ° - in the west, degrees are given in brackets
    Decryption for decoding in brackets:
    • N - North - North
    • E - East - East
    • S - South - South
    • W - West - West

    Here is such a “hint” (in the form of decoding angles and pictures) Heavens Above gives us:
    N (0 °), NNE (22.5 °), NE (45 °), ENE (67.5 °), E (90 °);
    ESE (112.5 °), SE (135 °), SSE (157.5 °), S (180 °);
    SSW (202.5 °), SW (225 °), WSW (247.5 °), W (270 °);
    WNW (292.5 °), NW (315 °), NNW (337.5 °);
  • Distance to flare center - distance to the center of the flash
  • Intensity at flare center (Mag.) - flash intensity in its center
  • Satellite - satellite number from which you will see a flash reflection

Also on this site you can find many different interesting things, for example, on the main page on the right - the position of the ISS (ISS) at the moment.

Android application "Iridium Flare Forecast"

The application is free, I’ll immediately share a link to the market .

The application allows you to do the same as the Heavens Above website, + it also works only with an active Internet connection. The application allows you to determine your location using GPS / GSM towers and get a list of the nearest Iridium flashes and ISS flights (ISS).

Let me give you a couple of screenshots: You can



decrypt the location of the flash in the same way as on the website, all the values ​​are the same.

At your leisure, watch the flashes, it is very interesting and beautiful!

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