Iridium Flares

Do yourself a favor and use any means necessary to calculate a -8 magnitude Iridium satellite flare in your neck of the woods, then watch it.


I successfully caught a satellite flare during the day once but it doesn't match the amazeballsness of a -8 at night.  The one I caught a few nights ago was just wow.

What's crazy is the fact that it is a reflection off of a surface no larger than a man-door, and it is 800 km away.  Diffused through the atmosphere on a dark night, it looks incredibly bright and huge, like a motorcycle headlight a little ways down the road.  Yeah, it is very reflective, but still.

Now I have to watch First Contact and that super-speed-planet Voyager episode again.   But in any case, the experience only reinforces the notion that hiding a starship in orbit from primitive 20th Century Earthlings would be a huge pain in the ass without cloaking or optical monkeying of some kind.   You'd pretty much have to be in a high geostationary orbit to have a fighting chance.

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