The above image shows an Iridium Flare. What is an Iridium flare you may ask? Well, it's kind of like a communication satellite gone wild. The Iridium's are a group of satellites use for satellite mobile phones. As the Iridiums are crossing the night sky they look like a regular faint spot moving slowly across the sky, but these satellites have 3 main highly reflective antennas and depending on where the Sun is and how they are orientated in the sky can reflect the Sunlight, just for an instant while the Sun is in the sweet spot on the antennas making the satellite appear much brighter to the observer on Earth, they are often mistaken for meteors. The cool thing about Iridium flares is they can be predicted, just go to Heavens Above web site, input your Latitude and Longitude, you can find these numbers for your area here, go to the iridium flare section and it will give you the next time and location in your sky a flare will occur, they're kind of like meteors on a schedule.
August is a great month for the Milky Way, it is at it's highest and best location for viewing and imaging, hence I have taken some more images. I took the image above at our Royal Astronomical Society Of Canada's dark site on their tracking mount, the image is 2.5 minutes at ISO 1250.
The above image of the Milky Way complete with meteor was taken on my tripod, 1 minute exposure at ISO 3200, get out and enjoy the Milky Way while you still can, we loose it's beauty over the winter months as it is high over head and is washed out by our Sun's glare.
Although the upcoming Perseid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours of August 12, there are quite few rouge ones showing up when you least expect them as we are now entering the debris field left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The image above is a Perseid meteor I took last night. They will be easy to find, just look to the NE between Cassiopeia and Perseus about an hour after Sunset for the show to start, they say to expect to see one every few minutes to start with and as the night progresses into morning up to 2 a minute should appear.
I'll leave you now with a clip I put together of the , you guessed it the Milky Way, took 60 images over a time span of an hour and a half and stitched them together, love how the clouds roll away as the night rolls in.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Posted by Bob Johnson at 5:58 PM