Iridium is a chemical element with the symbol Ir and atomic number 77. A very hard, brittle, silvery-white transition metal of the platinum group, it is considered the second-densest naturally occurring metal with a density of 22.56 g/cm³ as defined by experimental X-ray crystallography. It is one of the most corrosion-resistant metals, even at temperatures as high as 2,000 °C. However, corrosion-resistance is not quantifiable in absolute terms; although only certain molten salts and halogens are corrosive to solid iridium, finely divided iridium dust is much more reactive and can be flammable, whereas gold dust is not flammable but can be attacked by substances that iridium resists, such as aqua regia. Iridium was discovered in 1803 among insoluble impurities in natural platinum. Smithson Tennant, the primary discoverer, named it after the Greek goddess Iris, personification of the rainbow, because of the striking and diverse colors of its salts.

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Once the antenna panel of this Bluewalker 3 satellite is unfurled, it could perhaps generate brief bright flares brighter than the old Iridium flares! (Credit: Marco Langbroek)