July 2, 2009

Fireflies in the Sky

FirefliesIf you are enthralled by the sight of fireflies then you should definitely see Iridium Flares. They're like fireflies in the sky. It's my way of describing it after I saw a moving flash of light from a firefly just the other night. It made me remember the first time I saw an Iridium Flare months ago while I was randomly stargazing. It was an amazing treat! Iridium FlareIt was quite different from a 'falling star' so it ticked my curiosity. And i was able to verify that it was an Iridium flare using an online tool from NASA.
Iridium Flares are bright flashes of sunlight reflected by the satellites. But the light from Fireflies are produced via Bioluminiscence. The wonders that these two marvels provide is a great way to get inspired by nature and technology: Fireflies and Satellites, what a tandem!
So how do you get to see Iridium Flares? Head to Heavens Above and check when the next flare will be visible from your area. And if you have a gPhone or iPhone, there is an app that extends the data from the Heavens Above website to provide you with a list of the next occurence of a flare visible from your current location. These mobile apps goes by the same name, "Iridium Flares".
Summer's here, look down and the sparks from fireflies will definitely bring you to an eerie magical world. Look up and the stars and flares will treat you to an exoplanetary sight.
Fireflies and Satellites are two marvels from different realms, yet these "fireflies in the sky" signify an important synthesis: Biology and Technology, Nature and Astronomy, Earth and Space. They all go well together. Just take a look.