Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Double Iridium Flare spotted at the 433rd!

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Last night we had our first meeting of the year with 17 Cubs coming out and a couple that couldn't make it. The majority are returning Cubs from last year, with one transfer and 3 new chums.

One of the orders of business was a badge survey to see where we all were. Several of our Cubs need to get some previously earned badges sewn on. (Hint to Mom's and Dad's - if your Cub does the sewing it counts towards a badge requirement).

Most of the Cubs are within one or two requirements of their Space Exploration badges! If they can design/draw their own space suit or vehicle and bring it in will get many of them there.


The night was clear but with a lot of light around the Church we wouldn't have much of an opportunity to see constellations, but that wasn't what we came to see. At 8:15pm we stepped outside the Church to see an Iridium Flare.

I'd previously looked up the schedule through the Heavens Above link from the extended clear sky chart on What's Up @ Lloyd Manor Park - Sky Forecast. And at 8:19pm we saw a satellite passing below and to the west of the north star flare. (I love the fact that you can set the alarm on your cell phone on the forecast and it's right on). Surprisingly, about 40 seconds later, we saw a second following satellite flare! (Normally, double flares are due to replacements).

For last nights schedule of Iridium #18, see this. I'm not sure how long these double flares run, but if you're an Iridium watcher you may be able to catch it again.


Additionally, our sharp eyed Cubs spotted a "satellite" moving through Cygnus and Lyra toward the north east at 8:24. It turns out to be a Russian Cosmos #1093 rocket booster launched in 1979.

For a track of this rocket booster, see this.

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