What did I see in the sky over the Monterey Bay last night?
December 6, 2017 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Last night, I saw a bright light in the sky South of Santa Cruz, CA, which was predicted on the radio, but I missed what the object was.

Last night, December 5th, I tuned in to KPFA and heard the tail end of a conversation which advised listeners to look into the sky South of Santa Cruz to view something at 6:59 (perhaps they said what it was earlier in the conversation). I looked at the mentioned time and saw a bright light flare up, which quickly faded as it moved. It did not appear to be a satellite, and looked like perhaps a rocket changing stages, but I don't see a record of any launches around that time. What did I see?
posted by subocoyne to Science & Nature (3 answers total)
Looks like it was quite possibly an Iridium flare. heavens-above.com reports that there was a -7.9 magnitude flare at 18:59:27 on the 5th. (Screenshot of Heavens Above Iridium flare predictions.)
posted by popcassady at 11:17 AM on December 6, 2017 [7 favorites]

Ah, that must be it. I had checked heavens-above for satellite magnitudes, but not iridium flares. Thanks!
posted by subocoyne at 11:22 AM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Enjoy those Iridium flares while we have them. After 20+ years of service (well past their warranty life), Iridium Inc. is replacing those original shiny satellites, and the new ones don't flare.
posted by intermod at 7:28 PM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

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