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Re: Iridium flash software

Clifford Buttschardt wrote:

(Regarding Iridium Flares)
> It is entirely possible that this program is NOT available to us.  A
> search has produced the possible authors:  Rob Matson and Randy John
> Does anyone know of this software?  Even a website in which possible times
> to view at a given location would be useful.


     For tons of info on visual satellite observing, including
everything you need to see Iridium satellites and their flares, go to:


About half way down the page, click on "Iridium Satellite Flares", then
on "Flare Prediction Programs".  I recommend IRIDFLAR by Rob Matson.  It
goes through your keps files, calculates flares for all Iridium sats
during the time period you specify, prints three lines for each flare
(beginning, peak and end) with time, aimuth, elevation, flare magnitude,
etc.  It even tells you where the exact center of the flare's path will
be, in case you want to drive a few miles for a better flare.  It then
sorts the whole mess out by time and prints it or saves it to disk as a
text file.

Rob is also the author of SKYMAP, also available from the URL above,
which will draw a map of the sky and stars and plot the satellite's path
across it.  On your video screen, the portion of the path where the
flare occurs is highlighted.  This doesn't show up on printouts, though,
which have to be made with another program called PrintGL, which is also
available from the above HTML.  Look for both under "Prediction software
and tools".

Randy John's SKYSAT Iridium flare predicting program is also available
there.  It draws a map of the sky and lays the Iridium's path on the
map, but there's much less detail than SKYMAP and it's not as convenient
to pick out good passes as IRIDFLAR.

You might also check out "SeeSat-L", a mailing list similar to AMSAT-BB,
but for visual satellite observing.

> Having seen this event just once would inspire one to want a repeat!

AMEN!  I saw a magnitude -8 flare last week that was so bright I could
see it through thin clouds!  Even my cats were impressed.

Dave, N9LTD