Bright Twin NOSS Satellite Flare
Taken by Timothy Wenzel on December 14, 2017 @ Midland, Michigan USA
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  Camera Used: Canon Canon EOS Rebel T6s
Exposure Time: 20/1
Aperture: Unavailable
ISO: 3200
Date Taken: 2017:12:16 07:24:54
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While trying to catch Geminids early on Dec 14 2017, I saw this double flare lasting about a minute. The photo is a composite 3x20sec, 3200 ISO, 10 mm lens ƒ2 (hence two little gaps in the trails between shots) looking WSW at 06:14 AM EST.

It cannot be a double Iridium flare (if they even exist) because none were in the sky at that time. A friend searched back in and found that a NOSS military satellite pair was precisely in this spot at this time. After searching the internet, I found only one other photograph of a NOSS pair flaring. So here is another. Due to the many secrets surrounding these satellites, flaring cannot be predicted.
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Hey Timothy,

I live in Iowa and captured the same satellite pair in a couple of images just minutes before your reported sighting. I did not visually see the pair on the morning of the 14th, but the pair was moving north through Ursa Major as seen in my images - not noticeably flaring however.
Posted by Starguy 2017-12-16 20:14:39
btw my username is TimBucky (I just signed up). Hey @Starguy yes I have seen these twin satellite trails while shooting auroras, quite frequently actually. I thought all along they were two Iridium satellites in slot-swapping mode (new one alongside old one in preparation for replacement). They may well be in some cases because I never bothered to search a database for them. Only when both flared in this case did I realize they could not be old/new Iridium satellites. BTW is fantastic for ID. I did not know about it before. Happy Holidays.
Posted by TimBucky 2017-12-18 05:43:57
15 thumbs up
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