Tag Archives: George Normandin

T-2 Years? The Anticipated Fizzle-Out Of The Iridium Flares – Do Not Take Them For Granted!

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The following thoroughly depressing link was sent off – with a specific mention of the possibly extra-short future of the Iridium Flares many of us enjoy observing at night – by Kopernik member (and celebrity volunteer! – featured in a great article last month readable at pressconnects.com) George Normandin earlier this year. We’ve potentially lost 7 months already from the possible countdown with this approximate-ish late post to the CNYO site (my bad).

Iridium satellite #6 (upper) and its replacement, #51, flaring 6 seconds apart in a 21.4-second exposure. The bright object on the right is Jupiter. Arcturus is the bright star at about the 7 o’clock position. Spica is just out of view in the lower right. The satellites were moving left to right. Image by Jud McCranie.

For the record, the bbc.com article title was a little less dramatic than the also excellent nationalgeographic.com and spaceflightnow.com articles about the same.

From the article at bbc.com:

One thing the new [Iridium NEXT satellites] satellites will not be capable of doing, however, is producing Iridium “flares”. These are the flashes in the sky that result when sunlight glints off the antennas of the old spacecraft.

The new satellites do not have the same configuration, so once the original constellation is de-orbited the flashes will cease.

“I’m afraid those who’ve been tracking that phenomenon over the past 20 years have another year or two to see it,” Mr Desch told BBC News.

“As someone who’s seen a couple myself, you can imagine what a thrill it is to be the CEO of a company like this and watch your satellite go overhead. But we weren’t going to spend money just to make angular shiny things on our satellites, so that phenomenon will go away – but it’s been fun.”

For the full article: www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38613275

Iridium Flares are very easy to find once you know where – and when – to look. Predictions for your locale are easy to obtain from www.heavens-above.com/IridiumFlares.aspx.

“Upstate NY Stargazing In March” Article Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The latest article in the Upstate NY Stargazing series, “Upstate NY Stargazing In March: Messier Marathon and the Lunar Occultation of Aldebaran,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com.

Direct Link: newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2017/02/…lunar_occultation_of_ald.html

Direct Link: syracuse.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2017/02/…lunar_occultation_of_ald.html

* Prof. Leslie Hebb’s Cazenovia College Science Cafe lecture, “Distant Worlds: What We Know About Extra-Solar Planets And Their Potential For Habitability” was a great success this past Wednesday and we look forward to announcing and co-sponsoring future astro-related events.

* With one day to go and the potential for clear skies, interested parties are encouraged to read up on how to observe – and record – the lunar occultation of Aldebaran on the night of March 4th.

* And, finally, the March article is the perfect time to introduce new observers to Messier Marathons prior to any attempts of the same at month’s end.

Caption: M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, and its satellite galaxies M32 (a hazy star just above-left of M31’s center) and M110 (the oval structure below-left of M31’s center). Photograph taken at Kopernik Observatory & Science Center by Kopernik Astronomical Society member George Normandin. Click for a larger view.

Turning our attention to the North, and in anticipation of a larger discussion about circumpolar constellations, we introduce Ursa Major – a great, easy-to-find constellation with a small fortune in Messier Objects.

Caption: Ursa Major and the Big Dipper, including brightest star labels, the locations of Messier Objects, and an arrow to follow to the north star Polaris. Click for a larger view.