Disappearing Iridium Flares


Iridium flares are disappearing from our skies. These flares are the visible phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces of the panels of passing Iridium satellites reflecting sunlight toward the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright “flare” to observers on the ground. Most of these flares could be precisely predicted.

The first generation of the Iridium constellation with 66 active telecommunication satellites in low Earth orbit were known to cause the brightest flares of all orbiting satellites.

Throughout 2017 and 2018 they were being replaced with the new generation, Iridium Next, that does not produce flares, these new satellites are completely phasing out the first generation. Check out the press release here.

The original Iridium Constellation is being decommissioned and will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, as the new constellation takes its place. The Iridium NEXT satellites do not flare.





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