Ever Heard of an Iridium Flare?

Tonight at 7:33pm AZ time, one of the mirrored antennae on an Iridium communications satellite will reflect sunlight back down on Earth over the Phoenix area. To the naked eye, it will almost look like a shooting star, but it will be moving much slower. The sunlight reflecting will make the satellite look brighter than any normal star in the sky, and it will only last for about 3-5 seconds. My son and I managed to see it last night and it was pretty cool to see a satellite just flying along with the naked eye.

How to observe it?

It’s actually pretty simple, and you don’t need a telescope or any equipment. Just go outside at 7:31pm tonight and look low in the northern sky. It will be just a few degrees left of true north, and since it will be early enough to still have a little twilight, there really shouldn’t be any other stars visible just yet. The only object that should be visible by then is the planet Jupiter (which will also be visible with the naked eye), but it will be far over to the west, just below and to the right of the waxing crescent moon.



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