Iridium Flares And Stars At The Hop Fields

Ever heard of Iridium Flares? Here´s the answer from “heavens-above.com.”: An Iridium flare is caused by the sun being reflected from one of the three main mission antennae (MMA) of an Iridium satellite. The MMAs are flat, highly polished aluminium surfaces, and when the angles are just right, they can reflect the sun just like a mirror. There are over 80 of these communications satellites in orbit, and they are operated by the Iridium LLC Consortium. For more information, please see our Iridium flare help page. Scouting around the hop fields on monday night for a good spot for shooting star trails, I have put up my tripod several times  to get different angles. Suddenly I´ve noticed three very bright spots in the sky from where I knew there couldn´t be any stars at all. Two seconds before that I had pushed the shutter with a 30 sec. exposure – not knowing what I would get – until this friday morning. I´ve sent this image to www.calsky.com, probably the best source for astronomy in Europe. And Arnold Barmettler wrote me back this: “Yes, these flares were from the Chinese version of the NOSS satellite trio ( military ocean monitoring through triangulation of the origins of radio messages with the name `Yaogan 9`.” I´m totally blown away! These two streaks are the reflections of Chinese military satellites! Flares are located between the constellations of Pegasus and Pisces. What´s next? Who knows! Click on images if you like to enlarge. Enjoy! PS: The lighter part at the bottom of the image  is due to light pollution of small villages – not twilight!

 

Iridium Flares of Chinese military satellites @ 48.7251°N/11.8353°E

 

 

 

 

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