Upcoming Geo-Flare Season

Upcoming Geo-Flare Season

Postby kdrake » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:41 am

Geo-flare season begins in a couple of weeks. Best time to start looking is a couple of weeks b4 the beginning of Spring. During the 4 week period when the anti-solar point is drifting along the ecliptic (for us, it's actually a bit south of the ecliptic), the shadow cone of the Earth projects a lack of illumination about 10+ degrees wide at the distance of the Geo-sats. If we observe at the edge of that shadow, we can sometimes see glints off the satellites often naked eye. Because of the high angle, the sats are basically at opposition if looking at the anti-solar point, they can get really bright for an extended period of time. These sats are normally 11th-14th magnitude.

Early on, watch the area from central Sextans into western Virgo along 0 degrees declination. Later in the season, watch the area 7 degrees NW of Spica and 10 degrees N of Algorab. A pair of low power binoculars will help zero in on the location. I'll try to remember in early March to send finder charts.

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