First steps with IridiumFlares

Tuesday 20 September 2005.

Now that you have installed the application, you will be able to predict the flares.


When you start the application, the “elements” tab is the default active tab. This tab lets you download and update the data of the orbital elements. These data must be updated regularly (every two or three days) in order to obtain accurate results.

-  Click on the update button to update the elements from the default location.

The first time you start the application, the elements are downloaded automatically.

Note that you must be connected to the internet to download or update the elements.


You must now define the observer’s location.

-  Click on the “observer” tab.
-  Enter the longitude, latitude and altitude of the location for which you plan to predict the flares.

The longitude and latitude can be entered in different formats :

  • dd.dddd (decimal degrees)
  • dd (degrees, minutes)
  • dd mm ss (degrees, minutes and seconds)

The data that you will enter will automatically be converted into decimal degrees.

Positive values stand for North and East, negative values for West and South.

-  Click on the “Save” button, you will be prompted for the location’s name.

In the future, the location that you just have entered will be available in list of observation sites.


-  Enter the date for the predictions.
-  Enter the duration.
-  Click on the “Start” button.

When the results are available, the “results” tab is automatically made active.

Note that you can choose the limit magnitude for the displayed results.


The results tab displays all predicted flares which intensity is greater than the value defined on the computations tab.

-  Select a flare to visualize it in the sky view.
-  Click on the “sky” tab.


The sky view displays the sky, as it can be seen at the moment when the selected flare occurs, from the observer’s location used for computing the predictions.