Iridium Satellite Flare Spotting Opportunity In The Lubbock Area Tonight
The South Plains forecast for this evening, Tuesday October 11, 2016 calls for clear skies. That should provide another great opportunity to sight an Iridium Flare as the satellite passes over Lubbock.
The very bright flare will occur tonight at about 8:28:50 p.m. From Lubbock, watch high in the sky, about 45 degrees to the south-southwest at that time. The satellite will be travelling from north to south, and may normally be spotted well before the flare actually occurs. These flares only last for about 10 seconds, so be ready!
An Iridium Flare takes place when the slowly rotating satellite briefly reflects direct sunlight in a bright flash visible on the ground. The flare's calculated time and place to occur is surprisingly accurate, considering the factors that must be taken into account. You do not need to be directly under the satellite track (pictured above) to view the flare, a couple of miles either side of the line is normally sufficient.
These opportunities actually occur quite often, and you may read more details on viewing these and other similar events here.
More detailed information on satellite passes is available on the Heavens-Above website.