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This flash of sunlight reflecting off an Iridium satellite was captured before morning twilight, in the region of the Milky Way bounded by the constellations of Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila. Just to the left of the brightest part of the flare is the distinctive "Coat Hanger" asterism. Also faintly seen are four Messier objects: globular star clusters M56 and M71, and planetary nebulae M27 and M57. In this view, north is up.
This Iridium flare was magnitude -8, one of the brightest possible. For a prediction of flares from your location, go to the Heavens Above web site.
This photograph was published in the January 2002 issue of Astronomy Magazine.
Date: June 24, 2001
Time: 4:00am MST
Location: Vekol Road, Arizona
Film: Kodak Ektachrome P1600
Camera: Olympus OM-1 on homemade tracking mount
Focal length: 50mm
Exposure time: 4 or 5 minutes
Scanned using Nikon Coolscan LS-10E