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Iridium Flares App for android


Tim
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Is anybody else using this?

Great little app that shows you exactly where and when to look for a flare, how bright it will be, and even sends you a reminder at a specified time before the flare so you dont miss it.

Cheers

Tim

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It gets its times direct from Heavens above, so I guess it depends on the data there really, and have always found that to be very reliable.

Havent had a clear night since installing :)

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I've been seeing threads titled 'Iridium Flares' and just presumed this had something to do with the chemical element burning up in the atmosphere (from small meteors etc).

Having an app to predict these really confused me so I googled it.

Now I understand. :)

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Seriously, I love all this technology at our fingertips. I have an iPad with the Iridium Flares app, a satellite tracking app. A Mars app, a Moon app, a Solar Monitor app, an Exo Planet app and lots of other solar system stuff. If only this technology was around when I was a youngster.

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Well, clearish skies in the northeast as directed by the app but didn't see anything. That's not to say it wasn't there though - I have seen one flare by accident but never yet spotted one I have been looking for (three attempts to date - somebody I was with saw one of them so I think it's just me :) )

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I use Heavens Above on my HTC Desire and can be found quite often dashing outside looking at the sky and cursing the odd feline which hurls itself underfoot as I'm heading out.

Lots of ISS passes, but easily the most impressive was a -7.0 iridium flare.

The way the app shows it, you are expecting a single bright pulse of light. What actually happens is a light appears, then increases in intensity to what seems an impossible level, then dims again.

It went on for long enough that my brain started generating the ripping, tearing sound I would normally associate with something like that in the sky.

Really impressive stuff, I like iridium flares.

Alan

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Does the heavens above app give you a visual piccy overlaid on a map too? I like knowing exactly where to look? Never used HA for that yet ;)

Yes, it does.

EDIt.. Whoops, sorry,I thought you was talking about the Heavens Above website, just noted you're on about the app so not sure.

Edited by stringbean
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Hi I just downloaded the Heavens Above App last night.

It took a couple of ISS passes to figure out the correct timezone to use.

I set it to GMT+1 which I thought would be correct as we are in British Summer Time.

I was outside with the scope looking at Saturn just as the skys were darkening, about 22:30 thinking I had an hour or so before the ISS pass. However I saw a familiar bright light cross the sky as I was trying to work out if I could see a 2nd moon of Saturn. I had a look at the App and there was nothing highlighted. So I guess the timezone was wrong. I set it to GMT +0 and then doubled checked the times against http://www.calsky.com/.

The next ISS pass at 00:10 was bang on queue.

Just thought I would share this.

On another note, well minor gripe, it is a bit annoying that you have to manually quit the app via the menu, just switching away leaves it running in the background.

dag123

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A little annoying, yes and no, I find. Android is designed to handle its own memory, so switching away from it wont do any harm.

In fact, killing processes using Advanced Task Killer and so on can actually have a negative effect on the phones performance, since the way it is designed, when the system decides on its own to kill a task, it performs a couple of little admin tasks first which mean you can open the app up the next time and if appropriate, everything is as you left it.

There are times you need task killers, but not as often as you might think. It's hard to get used to the idea of just leaving something running in the background, because we come from a paradigm of desktop computers, where when we finish with something, we close it down. With Android and iPhone, that isn't necessary any more.

From a different perspective, leaving it running in the background means the service which gives you notifications of upcoming passes has a chance to do its job - I have mine set to tell me about any pass brighter than 2.0, 10 minutes before it starts.

Glad you got it working though, it's a good little app.

Alan

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Just to confirm about killing the app, I meant via the "QUIT" in the app menu, not a task killer. And yes, I agree, if I wanted to use the alerts, leaving the app running would be a good idea!

Now I have a new question about the reliability of the times. I was looking at the calsky and heavens above web sites and I noticed that even after setting the same home location the times for passes change slightly. Now for an ISS pass which last a few minutes this is not too much of an issue. But for an Iridium flare (which I have yet to see) the times are more critical. Has anyone else noticed this, or can someone say from experience, which numbers are more reliable?

Thanks

dag123

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I would tend to take the Heavens Above app times as being pretty close to the truth, but keep in mind things can change up there, especially if the satellites or the ISS has been moved at all - they did a few last week which had the ISS around 4 minutes late. I imagine the same is true of the iridium satellites.

Alan

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