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Step 4: Find your Shooting Star!

Picture of Find your Shooting Star!
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The Iridium satellite network (60+ satellites) was launched by Motorola in the late 1990's to provide communications worldwide.  It was generally a financial failure due to the high cost to consumers and the emergence of cell phones and their networks, but Iridium is still used in different ways by different groups, but it is no longer owned by Motorola.  One feature of these satellites, noticeable to those of us living on Earth, is that as the satellites rotate, their solar panels will reflect sunlight to the ground.  The reflections (called Iridium flares) can be very bright, but last for only a few seconds.  If you know when a satellite is going by, and where it will be in the night sky, it will look very much like a shooting star!  If you've seen a meteor before, you know they move very fast and last for only a split-second.  Iridium flares look like a shooting star in slow motion, giving you time to point it out.  With the added benefit of being predictable.

So how do you find one?  Look it up online, of course!