Iridium 35 flashes above Rome – 21 July 2018

On 21 July 2018, early in the morning, the Iridium 35 satellite made a very bright (mag. -7.5) above Rome. We captured it from a stunning location and proudly share the view with you.

The Iridium 35 satellite shines as bright as mag. -7.5 above Marcus Aurelius statue, in Rome - 21 July 2018

The Iridium 35 satellite shines as bright as mag. -7.5 above Marcus Aurelius statue, in Rome – 21 July 2018

I have recently developed a huge interest in iridium flares. Too late, unfortunately: such a constellation of satellites is going to be dismissed soon. So I always check if a bright flash is going to happen above Rome, where I live, ready to go out there and grab it. As this will not last forever, I use to image bright iridium flares even at not comfortable times, that is before dawn.

This was the case, last 21 July, for the Iridium 35 flare, announced to be very bright, around mag. -7.5. I could not miss it! Looking at the predicated path across the stars, I selected the Capitoline Hill, hosting a wonderful square designed by Michelangelo, as the imaging location, guessing I could have the legendary Marcus Aurelius statue (actually a copy, the original one being inside the Capitoline Museums preserved against the natural elements) ideally looking at it.

I reached that place 30 minutes in advance, carefully choosing where to put my imaging camera, accordingly with my calculations. Meantime, I noticed clouds were climbing the sky (while, of course, it was perfectly clear earlier!), so I could not be sure to see the flare. I could only wait for a few minutes and see.

Luckily, clouds added something special to the scenery, as the flare was regularly visible in a very interesting sky, with the beauty of this unique place of the Eternal City all around.

I hope the image above is able to bring to you the experience I had and, more importantly, will inspire you to go outside and look up, even from the city: the night sky is always rewarding!

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