cubinator

Versatile satellite tracker

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http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=Iridium#MAP\

This is a website I found where you can track basically all visible satellites. It has a few key features other satellite trackers I've found don't:

  • It shows a map of satellite paths through your sky, which can be set to any time
  • You can use it to predict Iridium flares, when and where to look and how bright

I really suggest checking it out and seeing when an especially bright Iridium flare will appear in your sky! It's great for all kinds of tracking and predictions.

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This is one of my favorite satellite trackers.  I check it before leaving the hotel when I am on the road.  In a previous life, with a set of different sensing capabilities, I used to use another tracker to identify moving dots in the sky.  Nice to see other people using sat trackers to sky watch too.

Edited by Jonfliesgoats
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52 minutes ago, Jonfliesgoats said:

This is one of my favorite satellite trackers.  I check it before leaving the hotel when I am on the road.  In a previous life, with a set of different sensing capabilities, I used to use another tracker to identify moving dots in the sky.  Nice to see other people using sat trackers to sky watch too.

I'd been digging around Google for good satellite trackers for a while. When I saw that this one had a sky map instead of just an Az/Alt table, I was hooked. Then I found out about Iridium flares, and decided to start watching them. It's really nice!

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You know in my current life I get busy for a couple hours and then have, like, eight hours to stare at stars before I get busy again.  So I have been trying to figure out where I will be at a given time to catch an iridium flare at altitude etc.  Honestly, I think I am still getting it wrong, but playing with the data and figuring the numbers is sort of a nice distraction from listening to routine office complaints, etc.

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I made a program once that would download really bright iridium flare predictions into my calendar and sync them to my phone, so it would buzz me a minute or two before one.  I'm sure by now there must be some iOS/Android apps out there to do something like that.

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It's nice that they're so common. For many astronomical phenomena you have to travel to exactly the right place over the entire surface of Earth, but Iridium flares happen once or twice a night, usually, in pretty much any place. Even if you don't use a tracker, you can see some combination of satellites, flares, and tumbling space debris just by lying on your back on a clear night and watching. Kessler syndrome is pretty.

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