IridiumFlares is an application that can predict the flares made by the constellation.
A flare can be observed when a light source (such as the sun or the moon) is reflected by one of the satellite's antennas. A flare is a very bright phenomenon (the brighter have a magnitude of -8.4) that can easily be observed if the date and location in the sky are known.
This phenomenon generally occurs at least once a day, the morning before sun set or the evening after dawn. Some flares can be visible during the day. The duration of a flare is approximately from 3 to 8 seconds, therefore an application that predicts the exact date is required to have a maximum chance to correctly observe the phenomenon.
IridiumFlares has been writting in the portable language Java (version 1.4). It requires the a Java virtual machine (>= 1.4) and the Java3d package.
Here are some key features of "IridiumFlares":
automatic downloading of orbital elements :
· from an URL
· from an existing SpaceTrack account
· filter on the elements used for predictions
· observer sites database and persistence
· selection of the date and the duration of the predictions
· selection of minimum elevation
· selection of the light source :
· sunlit flares
· moonlit flares (this feature is still experimental and estimated magnitude is inaccurate)
results displayed :
· satellite name
· horizontal coordinates
· equatorial coordinates
· reflection angle and corresponding estimated magnitude
· satellite illumination (percentage) and, if eclipsed, the type of the eclipse (P for partial, T for total)
· ascending or descending node of the orbit
· antenna causing the flare (F for front antenna, L for left and R for right)
· distance and direction of the flare center, projected on the Earth's surface at altitude 0
· estimated accuracy of the results
· export results to a HTML web page
· selection of the displayed and exported fields
· selection of the preferred units
· parallelized computations on multi-processors platforms
· a sky view is available and displays :
· the trajectory of the flare
· the brightest stars (dimmest stars have magnitude 5.5)
· the stars' names
· the constellations and their name
· the sun and the moon (with phases)
· the sky view can be oriented to best fit to the observers' situation
· the date and time can be entered to visualize the sky at any time
· real-time tracking is available to visualize the satellite's position when it is about to produce a flare
· the sky view can be exported :
· to the printer with different color models (black and white, grayscale, true colors)
· Java Environment
What's New in This Release:
· minor bug fixes in computation.
· cardinal directions can now be explicitly set when entering latitude and longitude, in order to avoid confusion with negative and positive values.