The "Old and Busted" Iridium satellites flared like crazy because they had big flat metal surfaces for their phased array antennas (that were certainly so shiny completely by accident and never intended to call attention to themselves). the "New Hotness" Iridium satellite antennas are very different and don't have this
- What is a "Double Iridium Flare" and how close can the two satellites be?
- What goes into an Iridium Flare prediction model besides the ephemerides?
- Why no Iridium-level flares from other satellites?
- "old and busted" vs "new hotness" explained
The visible Starlink train saga is represented in several questions here and in Astronomy SE so won't cover it here. Did nobody in the Astronomy community think 12,000 new satellites in LEO might be a problem?
Starlink satellites are giant flat, square metal pancakes with tall, flat-segmented solar panels, and they now have one preferred attitude during their rise from deployment altitude (low, so easy to quickly deorbit the duds) to operational altitude and phasing within a given inclination ring, and a second preferred attitude once operational.
Question: Are Starlink satellites flaring? In the same way that the occasional geometry occurred when a near specular reflection of the Sun on to Earth's surface occurs for other satellites, does this happen for Starlinks? Or do the now fairly well established preferred attitudes discussed above pretty much preclude any flaring?
Old and Busted (original Iridium)
below "View of one of the Main Mission Antenna. The hinged base is on the right side." Cropped. From satobs.org/iridsat.html.
New Hotness (Iridium Next)
above: Conceptual drawing of Iridium-NEXT from harris.com/solution/hosted-payload-solutions.