Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

Home Events

Satellites, 08 August 2015 - 04 June 2016

Satellites can be seen in the night sky as fast-moving points of light, shining by reflecting sunlight. A satellite with large solar panels or communications arrays, such as a member of the Iridium cluster, can cause a bright "flare" when it reflects sunlight directly towards the observer.

04 June 2016. David Murton. A flare from Iridium 95 below Ursa Major. Canon 60Da camera and Samyang 14mm lens. 30 second exposure.

26 October 2015. David Murton, 18:42 UT, Canon 60da camera with Samyang 14 mm lens, mounted on a standard tripod. Thirty second exposure at ISO 800, f3.6. A flare from Iridium 76 is visible at the top right of the thumbnail. The Moon, almost full (phase 99.2% waxing), is to the left and below the flare.

09 September 2015. David Murton, 20:35 UT, Canon 1100D camera. Shows a flare from Cosmos 1538. The Andromeda Galaxy is visible immediately below the flare.

22 August 2015. Kevin Fulcher, 23:54 UT, Canon 30D camera with 18-55 mm lens, taken from Shingle Street. Shows a flare caused by Iridium 39. Unfortunately, the image is marred by light pollution from Felixstowe; nevertheless it shows (just!), in addition to the flare, the Milky Way running through Sagittarius and Scutum.

08 August 2015. David Murton, 21:20 UT, Canon 1100D camera with 14 mm Samyang lens on a barn door mount. 360 second exposure, ISO 800, f2.8. Three satellites are visible! (in the full frame, not in the thumbnail.) Light pollution limited the capture of faint stars. The satellites are:

  1. A flare from Cosmos 2778 in Delphinus, moving vertically down the frame. This was so bright that it was initially mistaken for an Iridium flare!
  2. A trail from Cosmos 2082, travelling in the opposite direction.
  3. Above the trail from Cosmos 2082, a trail from Spot 4, running at 45°.

20160604_Iridium_95_DM.jpg 04 June 2016

20151026_Iridium_76+Moon_DM.jpg 26 October 2015

20150909_Cosmos+M31_DM.jpg 09 September 2015

20150822_Iridium_flare_KJF_5269.jpg 22 August 2015

20150808_satellites_DM.jpg 08 August 2015