Blue moon from tonight. So there’s an alternative definition of Blue Moon: the third full moon in a four moon season. As tonight’s full moon is the third of four this summer, it’s a Blue Moon by this standard. I actually went out to look at it, and it was so dim it took me a couple minutes to find the full moon!
An iridium flare happens when communication satellites become positioned so that the Sun strikes the metallic antennas and thus reflected to the Earth. These reflections can be very intense. In lots of occasions the flash is so strong that it can reach magnitude -9, which represents 30 times the bright of the Venus planet. The flashes can be very easily seen and the only requirement is that the observer knows where to look and at which moment. The duration time is not fixed, but we already witnessed flashes of up to 15 seconds.
There are many websites that track these satellites and can give you exact timing of them from your location. Heavens-above.com is one and there are more. There are apps for your smart phone as well.
Here is a shot from The Nebraska Star Party where we had 2 satellites about one minute apart. Unfortunately the tree got in the way for some of the flare.
If you would like more information on iridium flares http://www.astrosat.net/us/flare.php has a great write up.
You can now log into my site via Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or Yahoo. No more having to put down your name and email to comment on posts or pictures. This will save you time.