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Satellite will put on brief sky show for Oahu Friday evening

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:34 p.m. HST, Jul 17, 2013

If the weather cooperates, a satellite passing over Honolulu will put in a brief but bright appearance Friday.

The flash will be more brilliant than Venus, which is low in the western sky, but will last only a few seconds.

The Iridium 63 satellite will reflect the sun’s light down to Oahu at 8:09 p.m.

The flash will be in the north, just left of the North Star, and nearly in line with the two pointer stars of the Big Dipper. It will be 23 degrees above the horizon, or about one-fourth of the way to the top of the sky.

Polaris is at 21.3 degrees.

Iridium satellites, which have highly reflective antennas, provide voice and data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and other receivers. They orbit at a height of 485 miles.

Two other Iridium satellites will flash in the same area Sunday and Monday, but won’t be quite as bright. Iridium 13 will appear at 7:56 p.m. Sunday, and Iridium 50 at 7:50 p.m. Monday.

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