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Iridium Flare in Leo
Iridium Flare in Leo

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Night Sky (Advanced Editing VII*)
Camera: Olympus E-510
Lens: Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Zuiko Digital Zoom
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Date: May 30, 2008
Aperture: f/3.5
ISO: 400
Shutter: 50 sec
Date Uploaded: May 31, 2008

Iridium flares are streaks of light caused by reflection of sunlight from panels of the Iridium communications satellites. There are very detailed predictions of where and when these will occur so all that's left is to stake out a spot that frames the event well and get your exposure right. This one happened to occur just below an asterism that looks like a backwards question mark, this is the "head" of the constellation Leo.

Wow, my first 6+ effort and only on my fourth attempt! Thank you to all who took the time to vote, and especially those who went the extra mile with commentary. No, it's not a shooting star :) they would generally be far too faint to capture, and random. These events are highly predictable, the "gold standard" is a website, www.heavens-above.com. It has predictions for when numerous satellites will pass overhead, including the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle when it is in orbit.

Place: 20 out of 46
Avg (all users): 6.1221
Avg (commenters): 6.8182
Avg (participants): 5.9630
Avg (non-participants): 6.1339
Views since voting: 1024
Views during voting: 697
Votes: 393
Comments: 22
Favorites: 1 (view)

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 Comments Made During the Challenge
06/10/2008 11:50:51 PM
Great job of catching the Iridium flare! (Heavens Above I presume for the calculation?) Some additional light painting in the trees could add even more to this, IMHO. Regardless, well done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/10/2008 12:12:50 PM
A bit much sharpening for me, but definitely a cool capture! 6
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/10/2008 06:45:39 AM
Wow, either a lucky or a well timed capture, great job!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/07/2008 01:03:33 PM
A Tums will take care of that, Leo. Just kidding. I like this a lot -- especially your decision to show this relative to Earth objects.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/06/2008 11:16:23 PM
Is that a shooting star? I know nothing about astrology. :)
But I do know I love the shot. Great tree background and awesome stars.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/06/2008 10:01:33 PM
Had to look it up, but that's what the Iridium satellite flare is supposed to look like. Great job! 8
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/06/2008 03:11:27 AM
Nice catch!!
06/06/2008 02:59:15 AM
good image and unique ambient lighting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/05/2008 07:17:42 PM
is that really an iriduim flare?? cool
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/05/2008 01:19:40 PM
This is quite pretty.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/05/2008 04:33:11 AM
Nice capture, might be a bit brighter IMHO.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/05/2008 02:15:37 AM
Cool image. Bottom left should have been cropped out, I keep looking at the bright light.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 09:58:56 PM
Very magical with the light on the tree trunks and that shooting star.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 08:04:25 PM
06/04/2008 06:34:55 PM
Nice catch! Would be interesting to know if you planned it this way or if it was by chance. Love the little lighting in the trees to the lower left.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 02:03:50 PM
Right place at the right time? Congratulations to a spectacular shot!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 09:26:39 AM
Think I would have preferred a bit longer an exposure to get the stars creating an arc, or a shorter exposure to keep them as points. As it is they look a bit more like a blur... the flare is good though. The trees are more an annoyance than a feature... might have tried painting them with a torch to give them some colour and bring some balance to the image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 07:22:13 AM
A shame the exposure was slightly too long and blured the stars. I would have kept the shutter open for a bit longer to make the star trails a bit of a feature.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
06/04/2008 03:51:43 AM
Ahhh, a very beautiful night scene. I love this one lots!!!!
06/04/2008 02:32:01 AM
funtistic shooting star.
06/04/2008 01:19:31 AM
Nice capture of this shoting star.
06/04/2008 12:33:43 AM
not interesting to my dumb eyes
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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