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Do Satellites's Glow Bright White?

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posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 04:38 PM
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I was just tracking a satellite with the naked eye across the clear night sky. Suddenly it glowed a very bright white colour then faded back to normal.
Is this usual for a satellite to act this way?




posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 04:39 PM
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originally posted by: alldaylong
I was just tracking a satellite with the naked eye across the clear night sky. Suddenly it glowed a very bright white colour then faded back to normal.
Is this usual for a satellite to act this way?


Yes it's called a flare.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 04:41 PM
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sounds more like the ISS to me


eol.jsc.nasa.gov...



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 04:49 PM
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originally posted by: ladyteeny
sounds more like the ISS to me


eol.jsc.nasa.gov...


Just looked at the ISS tracker. It wasn't that, as it has not gone over the UK in the last 20 mins.

Sounds like it was a flare as pointed out by the previous poster.

Thanks for your answers.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 04:52 PM
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Sounds like an Iridium satellite, they are really cool to witness.


The Iridium communication satellites have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas, 120° apart and at 40° angles with the main bus. The forward antenna faces the direction the satellite is travelling. Occasionally, an antenna reflects sunlight directly down at Earth, creating a predictable and quickly moving illuminated spot on the surface below of about 10 km (6.2 mi) diameter. To an observer this looks like a bright flash, or flare in the sky, with a duration of a few seconds.


Wikipedia Source



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 05:08 PM
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a reply to: alldaylong

Yes , as mentioned above Iridium flare , cool to see .... I thought it was Aliens when I first saw it




posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: gortex


Interesting thing is I saw dozens of "iridium flares" in 2012, in 8 years of regular stargazing that was the only time I observed them. If I am observing the same area at the same times, then why don't I see them regularly?



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 07:07 PM
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a reply to: jaws1975

Its an iridum flare , you get an ISS app that tracks the iridum satellites. You could probably go out and see one every night.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:03 PM
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a reply to: alldaylong

So long as it's not a spy satellite, you can track most man-made objects here.



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 11:50 AM
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originally posted by: jaws1975
a reply to: gortex


Interesting thing is I saw dozens of "iridium flares" in 2012, in 8 years of regular stargazing that was the only time I observed them. If I am observing the same area at the same times, then why don't I see them regularly?

Probably because those satellites aren't at the same place the same time every night. As they orbit the Earth, the Earth rotates under them. The flare lasts only seconds, so you need to know when and where you can see one if you want to spot them regularly.

I use www.heavens-above.com... to get times for Iridium flares and the ISS for my location. Sometimes other satellites also cause a flare.



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 12:28 PM
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Iridium and ISS can experience "flares," but they are not the only satellites capable of doing so by any means. Any satellite with a sufficiently reflective surface like an antenna or reflective radiator can flare up in brightness temporarily if the angle between that surface and the observer is correct. Space junk usually tumbles uncontrollably and if it flares it will appear to flare multiple times, once on each rotation for each highly reflective surface, creating a pulsating appearance:

Others, such as the X-37B, are still actively controlled in a fixed attitude and so they only flare once for what is usually a longer duration (1:35 in this video):




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