Over 20 years ago, Iridium launched a constellation of 66 satellites into space, paving the way for the future of satellite communications. From Earth, unexpected reminders of the constellation’s presence appeared – Iridium Flares, a streak of light in the sky caused by sunlight reflecting off the main mission antenna of an Iridium® satellite. These Flares, which can be seen anywhere in the world, have been likened to shooting stars. As we conduct the largest constellation replacement program in history, known as Iridium® NEXT, our original Block 1 satellites are being deorbited and taking their Iridium Flares with them. Click here to read more about #flarewell.

Join us in saying #flarewell to our Block 1 satellites and help us welcome the future of Iridium NEXT!

Our Network is Global – and So Are Our Flare Superfans!

Fans of Iridium Flares are everywhere. Since the launch of Iridium satellites in 1997, people all over the world have been catching Iridium Flares with their families and friends. Below are some of our favorite images from astronomers and photographers around the globe. To see even more shots, visit CatchTheIridium.com, an Iridium Flare fan site dedicated to capturing images of Flares from each of our legacy satellites before they are gone!

Help us say #flarewell to our Block 1 satellites! Share your stories and photographs on social media or email us at flarewell@iridium.com.

How to Catch a Flare

There are many websites and apps available to help you calculate exactly when a Flare will be visible in your area.

 

Heavens-Above.com

Iridium Flares App on iOS App Store

Heavens Above App on GooglePlay

  1. Determine your GPS latitude and longitude coordinates.
  2. Use a website or app to input your coordinates to determine the time and location of an Iridium Flare in your area.
  3. Double-check the prediction shortly before observing, as Flare forecasts can change.
  4. Go outside at least a couple of minutes prior to the time listed on the correct date. (Note: If the sky is not clear, you likely won’t be able to see the Flare.)
  5. Look in the direction of the Flare forecast.
  6. Don’t forget to snap a pic for Instagram or Twitter and tag #flarewell!

For more details or help spotting an Iridium Flare, refer to WikiHow.

For tips on how to best catch a Flare in a photograph, check out tips from CatchTheIridium.com.

Be Part of Our History

Share your #flarewell pictures on Twitter!

Twilight Iridium flare over ITU Tower during CPM-19. Meetings like this helped open the frequency bands used by Iridium #flarewell #iridiumflare #catchtheiridium @ITU @IridiumComm @IridiumBoss

イリジウムフレアを発生させる旧型イリジウム衛星59号機が運用を停止しました。残り10機です #IRIDIUM59 #flarewell

BTW, where is @john_pahl? Haven't seen him around for a long time. John, we need your flare catching skills for those final weeks! #flarewell

SV097 is unstoppable! It never lets me down, even when the cloud score is 96! It blasted its way through the dawn of daylight, only Arcturus and the moon were there to witness. The broken streetlight: a flare catcher's best friend #flarewell #IridiumFlare @catchtheiridium

964 pictures! Lets go to 1000! Thanks @sjb_astro 🇬🇧(SV-61) @KlimpkeK 🇩🇪 (SV-95) @iramollay 🇦🇹(SV-61 & SV-97) @sonicgabe 🇺🇸 (SV-97) & @davebatz 🇮🇹 (SV-91 & SV-55)! #catchtheiridium #iridiumflare #flarewell

The trail of Iridium 32 (not a really flare) through the constellation Big Dipper.
19. Jan. 2019, #Schleiz, #Germany.
#flarewell #iridiumflare @catchtheiridium @iramollay
@urania_jena @DLR_next @DLR_de @esa @NightSkyStars @earthskyscience @AngryTheInch @AnjaAstro
#astrophoto2019

The flare of Iridium 95.
-7,06 Mag,
A few minutes after sunset. North.
4. Feb. 2019, #Schleiz #Thuringia #Germany
@catchtheiridium @iramollay
@urania_jena @DLR_next @DLR_de @NightSkyStars @earthskyscience
@AngryTheInch @AnjaAstro
#flarewell #iridiumflare
#astrophoto2019

My #Iridiumflare capture from yesterday evening - from satellite 61 at magnitude -8, between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. #Astrophotography #flarewell @catchtheiridium @VirtualAstro @EpicCosmos #astronomy #space #NorthYorkshire #ThePhotoHour @skyatnightmag

.@newburyastro @NightCapApp @catchtheiridium @IridiumComm iridium 61 satellite flare -0.6 mag through some passing cloud #flarewell

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Flares in the News

Communities around the world celebrate Iridium Flares

Our Commitment to Space

As a leader in the satellite communications industry and operator of the world’s preeminent Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, Iridium is committed to both ensuring the sustainability of LEO in the future and serving as the leading example of what it means to be a responsible steward of space.

For these reasons, we are carefully deorbiting our legacy constellation of Block 1 satellites as part of the Iridium NEXT satellite replacement program. When approaching retirement, each Block 1 satellite is put on an ‘end-of-life’ plan that carefully choreographs the time and location of its decommissioning, leading to its eventual disintegration in Earth’s atmosphere. By doing so, we maintain the highest standards of space debris mitigation and help ensure the sustainability of space for the future.

Our Commitment to Space

As a leader in the satellite communications industry and operator of the world’s preeminent Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, Iridium is committed to both ensuring the sustainability of LEO in the future and serving as the leading example of what it means to be a responsible steward of space.

For these reasons, we are carefully deorbiting our legacy constellation of Block 1 satellites as part of the Iridium NEXT satellite replacement program. When approaching retirement, each Block 1 satellite is put on an ‘end-of-life’ plan that carefully choreographs the time and location of its decommissioning, leading to its eventual disintegration in Earth’s atmosphere. By doing so, we maintain the highest standards of space debris mitigation and help ensure the sustainability of space for the future.

Iridium #flarewell Merchandise

Pay tribute to Iridium Flares with official #flarewell gear! Shop the Iridium store for all the latest #flarewell merchandise and Iridium apparel, as well as commemorative Iridium NEXT launch collectibles.

Iridium #flarewell Merchandise

Pay tribute to Iridium Flares with official #flarewell gear! Shop the Iridium store for all the latest #flarewell and Iridium merchandise.

Iridium NEXT

As we say #flarewell to Block 1 satellites and their Iridium Flares, follow the launches of our second-generation constellation online.

Iridium NEXT

As we say #flarewell to Block 1 satellites and their Iridium Flares, follow the launches of our second-generation constellation online.