The most beautiful Iridium flare ever

Do you know these situations when you experience something so beautiful that you want to share it with the whole world? But somehow you don’t have the means to do so? That’s where we are at right now.

Here’s the facts: We saw one of the most stunning Iridium flares ever. It was a bright –5.4 mag flare of Iridium 97, flaring very close to the moon.

And here’s the magic: Due to the very bright light of the crescent moon, the approaching satellite was not visible until it started to flare. It sparkled and glinted as it steered directly towards the moon, as if it wanted to explode into the cavity of the crescent. It was so bright that it stood up to the challenge of being outshone by this huge, beautiful lantern in the dark sky. Only after the maximum of the flare did SV 97 surrender as it flew directly into the moon with its sparkling light fading quickly …

We tried to capture these magic moments on video and we did. The result is very poor though. It might not excite you or you or you, but only serve as a memory for the ones who were there. It took a collective effort to spot the flare and it was beautiful to share this moment with people on the same wavelength. We left the original sound on the video, so you can tell our excitement and the feelings of awe that we were experiencing.

The brief scene was captured with a plain smartphone by just hitting the recording button. And there was another challenge: Iridia who was doing the recording had forgotten to bring the cellphone mount for the tripod. So she had to come up with a work-around with the props that were available – a very limited selection. That made for a very shaky construction and could be the reason for the blurry images.


But who cares, it’s the experience that counts, not the video. We gave it a 9 out of 7 on the flaregasm scale. And by the way, Iridia was wearing her #flarewell T-Shirt for the first time. What a beautiful coincidence! The flare marked entry no. 333 in our Iridium bingo.

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