Monday, January 21, 2008

Iridium Flare on Bonaire Tue. am

This post will only be useful to a very limited group of people. Namely people living on Bonaire who know where the stars Alpha and Beta Centaurus are in the sky.
Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, an Iridium satellite will do its "flare" thing to the left of the Southern Cross, smack dab in between Alpha and Beta Centaurus.
From Hato, the satellite will be shining at magnitude -4.5 or so for a few seconds. This is very bright. From further south on Bonaire, it will be less bright. If you are up north, it might be brighter.
The event will happen at 05:25:57, as seen from Hato. The time will be slightly different as seen from other places on the island.
I'm usually very reluctant to get up early to see star stuff, but I might just wake up for this one, because of where it is.


Anonymous said...

I live on the island of Bonaire and i walked outside a little while ago and saw a flash of light shooting across the sky. It had a hint of green to it and I was not sure if this was the iridium flash you were speaking of because it was around 915 pm Bonaire time when I saw it outside. It was similar to a shooting star but nothin that i have seen here before. Do you think it was a comet?

Brad said...

Wow, I wish I had been outside to see that!
Iridium flares are usually a bluish white color, last for a few seconds, and only cross a small section of sky, like the size of the bowl of the Big Dipper, or less. They also move pretty slowly.
Comets are rather dim and hard to see, and move extremely slowly. Usually, you have to observe them from day to day to see much movement.
From your report, my guess is that it was a meteor/shooting star. I've seen a greenish looking one or two, as have some of my friends here on Bonaire.

Brad said...

I woke up in time to observe the Iridium flare Tuesday am., but when I looked out my window, the sky was cloudy, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.
There was to be another one, Wednesday morning, in almost the exact same spot, but I slept in 'till almost 7am. today.