IridiumFlares 1.2

IridiumFlares is an application that can predict the flares made by the constellation.
IridiumFlares is a program that predicts the flares made by the constellation of communication satellites known as Iridium.

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
date
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)

Requirements:

Java Environment

What's New in This Release:

Corrections:
minor bug fixes in computation.

Enhancements:
cardinal directions can now be explicitly set when entering latitude and longitude, in order to avoid confusion with negative and positive values.

last updated on:
May 18th, 2008, 19:59 GMT
price:
FREE!
developed by:
Emmanuel ZURMELY
homepage:
iridiumflares.sourceforge.net
license type:
GPL (GNU General Public License) 
category:
ROOT \ Science and Engineering \ Astronomy

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