Heavens to Murgatroid
September 10, 2004 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Heavens Above! This is a pretty neat website for anybody interested in astronomy. Give it your location (City names work, even my white bread red-neck plains town did) and it'll give you star maps, fly by times and viewing instructions for satellites and so on.
posted by substrate (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
cool-o! So, what are these Iridium Flares they're talking about? There's apparently going to be one over DC tonight at 8:30.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2004

They're irridum satellites. They provide phone communications over a satellite so you can use one phone anywhere.
posted by substrate at 9:37 AM on September 10, 2004

From the FAQ:
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.
posted by kelrae3 at 9:39 AM on September 10, 2004

Wow. Great find, thanks for sharing!
posted by geekyguy at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2004

Iridium flares are pretty cool. Look for ones brighter (smaller number) than magnitude -4. -8s are awesome. Set a watch to the EXACT time and start watching the general area of the sky about 30 seconds before the predicted time. (The predictions are accurate to the second if you enter your lat/long correctly.)

I need to start posting some astronomy links (you would think I would have by now). I always assumed that the sites I visit have been posted before. I also note that astronomy related posts never generate many comments. Why the astro-apathy here?
posted by AstroGuy at 3:58 PM on September 10, 2004

Thanks for that gem of a site. I've come across similar sites before but none so accurate and easy to use for a once in a blue moon stargazer. Gonna start looking for satellites as I loved watching them in the clear skies in Africa. Wonder what my luck will be like so close to London's orange glow?
posted by desert_roamer at 6:56 PM on September 10, 2004

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