Iridium communication satellites can reflect sunlight from their antennas directly back to earth, resulting in a bright flash lasting a few seconds. The flares can be so bright that they sometimes damage sensitive astronomical equipment, but they are an impressive sight! Since most iridium satellites are controlled, you can predict when and where the flares appear. An Iridium flare looks like a star that moves slowly and quickly brightens, then slowly fades away.
To spot one, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Find-an-Iridium-Flare
H/T to Azlin Bloor who loves to spot iridium flares with her kids!
Originally shared by Milky Way Scientists
Astrophotographer Mike Taylor caught this shot of a bright flash from an Iridium flare, the Milky Way, rolling cloud cover and an incredible amount of light pollution photographed from the Maine western mountains.