Catch the Iridium

Flare lovers, this is for you. This is SO for you! We all know that the days of our beloved Iridium flares are numbered. No matter how much we root for the tech refresh with IridiumNEXT satellites, the end of the beautiful night-sky spectacles is nigh. The great culling of Block-1 satellites has started, with Iridium sending them down in droves already. By the end of the year most of the flaring birdies will be gone, with a few tumbling ones left that will take longer till their fiery re-entry.

caughtSo what can we do apart from crying our eyes out? Which is not good by the way because it blurs your vision. Anyway, here enter “the Italians”. A bunch of adorable people from Sardinia, flare lovers and astrophotographers themselves, have created the adorable “Catch the Iridium” project. Their objective is to crowdsource photographs of each remaining Block-1 satellite โ€“ and the decayed ones as well, if someone has them on stock. What a lovely and wonderful idea!

And it’s going very well indeed: A month into the project, 43 of the 95 satellites have been captured at least once (at the day of writing โ€“ June 26, 2018). More than 100 photos have been entered into the collective hunt for night sky sparkle and joy.

Bildschirmfoto 2018-06-26 um 16.12.40
The scoreboard of the Catch The Iridium project in June 2018, one month after its start.

The photos are as diverse as life is on our planet: From stunning top notch pictures by seasoned photographers of the nighty skies to images from newbies. From pictures taken with sophisticated equipment to smartphone shots. From beautiful dark skies to light-polluted street crossings: Contributions come from all corners of the world, yet the project makes one thing very clear: We all live under one sky and share the same stars ๐ŸŒŸ โ€“ and the same satellitesย ๐Ÿ›ฐ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Move your mouse over the images to see description and credits. All photos for CatchTheIridium project.

The beautifully crafted site offers more than just the flare gallery, though: There are comprehensive descriptions of how to best photograph flares, how first of all to spot the elusive shiny guys, and there’s a status of the Iridium fleet: Which satellites are still wanted for this beautiful “family photo album” and which ones have already been captured.

The people who run the site are great at communicating in social media, very encouraging towards newcomers and provide you with support and good spirits. It’s a beautiful experience to be part of, a global #flarewell party that unites the community of flare lovers and Iridium fans in a most joyful way to help us cope with our shiny loss. Gee, what a dramatic last sentence! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Here you can find Catch the Iridium โ€“ you better join today so you don’t miss out on the fun:





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