Category Archives: Satellite Flares

Space Junk Double Flare Over Seneca Rocks, WV

The meteors were flying early in the morning of July 30, 2017 in Seneca Rocks, WV. I did some quick captures to try and snag a few, I didn’t, but did manage to capture this double flare from some passing space junk. I’m calling it space junk since I did not see any satellite predictions along this path. The bright star in the center is Polaris. Input/thoughts greatly appreciated.

Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, tripod mounted, each exposure was 30 seconds, 17mm, ISO 3200, each image has been cropped to just show the section of the trails. Location: Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Date: July 30, 2017 at 12:53 AM local time.


A Spooky Selfie, Three Planets and a Dead Satellite.

What does a spooky looking selfie, three planets and a dead satellite have in common? They are all in this photo from October 26, 2015. I thought I would try a selfie on Monday morning using my Canon 6D and Lensbaby Fisheye lens (15 seconds at ISO 3200), after examining the photo I noticed a small streak in the background that I later identified (using Starry Night Pro software) as satellite ADEOS II, which died in orbit in 2003 after the solar panels failed.

You never know what your time lapse images will pick up!


Spooky skies!


Iridium Satellite #43 Flare in the Constellation Orion

This is a frame I captured yesterday (October 21, 2015) while looking for Orionid Meteors in the early morning hours. Unfortunately, the only thing I captured was this Iridium flare passing in front of Orion. This particular satellite is Iridium #43 that was launched in 1997. You can check the current position of this satellite at, pretty cool! This was a 30-second exposure using a Canon 6D and Samyang 14mm lens mounted on a fixed tripod, the location was a small parking lot on the west side of Hickory Run State Park offering some nice views of the southern part of the sky.

Iridium Flare

Iridium Flare

You can learn more about the Iridium satellite constellation HERE.

Clear skies!


Satellite Flare – ALOS Satellite

A satellite flare is caused by the reflective surface of the satellite reflecting sunlight directly to the Earth below.

The image below is of the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), also called Daichi.  It is a 4-ton Japanese satellite launched in 2006. After five years of service, the satellite lost power and ceased communication with Earth, but remains in orbit.

This was captured while collecting images in the hopes of grabbing a Lyrid meteor.  This is a single exposure, 30 seconds, ISO 3200 using a Canon 6D and Lensbaby fisheye lens.  The satellite flare is in the upper left portion of the image.

Photo of the ALOS satellite captured by Tom Wildoner on April 17, 2015.

Photo of the ALOS satellite captured by Tom Wildoner on April 17, 2015.

Identification of the satellite was done using Starry Night Pro software.

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