Flare above the Rock


Early this morning, I had a one-hour window to capture the Milky Way over Lake Superior. I had to get the shot between when the bright moon set at about 3am and when Astronomical Twilight began at about 4am. I went to one of my favorite islands on Lake Superior.

During the exposure I captured half of a really bright Iridium Flare. An Iridium Flare is caused by the sunlight reflecting off the surface of an Iridium satellite. This Iridium Flare was predicted to peak at -6.5mag, which is several times brighter than Venus and slightly brighter than a crescent moon. At its peak it was a real eye catcher. From where I was standing, the satellite was about 866 miles away, and considering the reflective surface that creates the flare is about the size of a door, it is amazing that we can see it so brightly on earth.

It was exciting to witness the flare and even more exciting knowing that I had just started my picture. Catching only half of the flare made the shot even more interesting.



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