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Swordfish
2007-Nov-09, 04:38 AM
Okay, I'm looking for confirmation that I'm not off my rocker here, so if anyone lives in the Lancaster, PA region, it'd really help me out. I don't know if this is the right forum for this, just seemed to be the best place for me to ask.

Anyway I saw a meteor (or something) tonight, November 8th, at about 10:15 pm. I saw it in the southeast sky and it was moving in a south-southeast direction. If i recalled correctly it moved through an angle about the width of my hand at arms length in 2-3 seconds, at which point I lost it behind a building.

I also know that it was rather close. While I could see it, it was easily the brightest thing in the sky, and the tail was about the width of three fingers at arm's length. I could actually see the end of the tail flickering, too.

Did anyone from the area see that?

NEOWatcher
2007-Nov-09, 12:59 PM
Okay, I'm looking for confirmation that I'm not off my rocker here
You may have seen something legitimate, but that doesn't confirm you are sane. :lol:


I don't know if this is the right forum for this, just seemed to be the best place for me to ask.
Close enough... Either this or Q&A


Anyway I saw a meteor (or something) tonight, November 8th, at about 10:15 pm...
Sounds at first like an Iridium flare. Here's the previous sightings for Lancaster (http://www.heavens-above.com/iridium.asp?Dur=2&Date=39393.5359966088&lat=40.038&lng=-76.306&loc=Lancaster&alt=92&tz=EST) (I'm not sure if it disappears in 48 hrs though)
The problem is the times don't match, but these flares are very localized, so maybe you are on the fringe of a slightly different location or something.

The other issue is the "tail". Although, this may just be visual interpretation (perceived).

You may want to browse the above link to learn about viewing them, set your exact location, and do some viewing of predicted flares to see if it compares to what you saw.

Swordfish
2007-Nov-10, 12:43 AM
After reading up on Iridium Flares, I don't think that could have been it. As you noted, none of the times on the link you gave me matched up, And, in addition to that, with sunset at about 5:00pm I think it was probably too late to be able to see them.

Also, when I referenced a "tail" I meant it in the most literal sense, the thing had a clearly defined tail behind it, and the tip of it was wiggling around, kind of like the top of a flame.

I was actually sitting in my living room when I saw it, the only light in the room was from the TV (I was watching Mythbusters :) ) and I just happened to look out the window at the right time, and, like I said, with no moon out, it was, by far, the brightest thing in the sky.

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-10, 12:46 AM
Hmm, strange.
I swore that I saw something white hurry past a window today as I entered a room, but it was just a reflection on my glasses.
Similarly, I'm sure you will find out what this thing was.

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 12:47 AM
After reading up on Iridium Flares, I don't think that could have been it. As you noted, none of the times on the link you gave me matched up, And, in addition to that, with sunset at about 5:00pm I think it was probably too late to be able to see them.

Also, when I referenced a "tail" I meant it in the most literal sense, the thing had a clearly defined tail behind it, and the tip of it was wiggling around, kind of like the top of a flame.

I was actually sitting in my living room when I saw it, the only light in the room was from the TV (I was watching Mythbusters :) ) and I just happened to look out the window at the right time, and, like I said, with no moon out, it was, by far, the brightest thing in the sky.

Ok well, it sounds like you saw a meteorite:neutral:

Did you go looking for debris?
Perhaps with goo oozing out of a broken rock (don't touch the goo...)

Tucson_Tim
2007-Nov-10, 12:47 AM
I was actually sitting in my living room when I saw it, the only light in the room was from the TV (I was watching Mythbusters :) ) and I just happened to look out the window at the right time, and, like I said, with no moon out, it was, by far, the brightest thing in the sky.

Except for the "tail" part, I'd also suggest an iridium flare. They can reach magnitudes of -9. There is nothing in the sky that bright except for the Moon, the Sun, and the occasional meteor. But according to your account it was moving way too slow for a meteor. So, either plane/helicopter or iridium flare.

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 12:52 AM
Reading his posts, I couldn't get a good indication of velocity.

However, seeing a "shooting star" is a relatively common thing. I don't understand why the concensus is "Iridium flare" Which I have seen and I know the difference between the two, when seeing a chunk fall from the sky isn't unusual by any means:doh:

I disagree with the iridium flare theory- based on observational account not matching an Iridium Flare by any means.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Nov-10, 12:54 AM
OK. Meteor/space debris. Fine with me.

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 12:58 AM
Heh...:p

It's just that everytime someone asks about what they saw in the sky, three or more people instantly jump up and say "Iridium Flare!"

It's like...
uhhh.. Ask some questions first!
The Iridium Flare is going the way of the Weather Balloon.

Sometimes it is an Iridium Flare, but I think judgement should be suspended until more information gets sifted out.
Otherwise, UFOlogists will get wary of (a very common mistake and common explanation that does hold true sometimes) Iridium Flares as disinformation spread by Evil Gubmit paid employees.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Nov-10, 12:59 AM
Ok.

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 01:00 AM
Ok.

Uh huh...

Tucson_Tim
2007-Nov-10, 01:02 AM
. . . so if anyone lives in the Lancaster, PA region, it'd really help me out . . . Did anyone from the area see that?

I didn't read your OP close enough. Sorry. Just ignore my posts.

Swordfish
2007-Nov-10, 06:17 AM
My big question about this is still whether it was a meteorite or some kind of rogue firework. It wasn't really a quick glimpse of the thing that I caught, I was kinda staring out the window for a good 5 seconds before I saw it, and it took about 3 seconds until I lost it. Of course, my roommate thinks I'm crazy because I was kinda dumbfounded when I saw it and was unable to draw his attention to it until after it was gone.

My speed and tail length estimates may be off, those were my attempts to measure it from memory about ten minutes after I saw it, though it did seem to me that it was moving kind of slow. I also know that it wasn't a plane or a helicopter; I spent the first eighteen years of my life living under the landing path for Philadelphia International Airport, so I'm pretty familiar with what those look like.

I did toy with the idea of tracking the thing down, but it was 10:15 at night, I was kinda tired, had to be up early the next day, and had no idea how far I'd have to go to find it (though, now that I think about it, the thing did seem to move along PA-741 pretty well).

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 07:49 AM
My big question about this is still whether it was a meteorite or some kind of rogue firework. It wasn't really a quick glimpse of the thing that I caught, I was kinda staring out the window for a good 5 seconds before I saw it, and it took about 3 seconds until I lost it. Of course, my roommate thinks I'm crazy because I was kinda dumbfounded when I saw it and was unable to draw his attention to it until after it was gone.

My speed and tail length estimates may be off, those were my attempts to measure it from memory about ten minutes after I saw it, though it did seem to me that it was moving kind of slow. I also know that it wasn't a plane or a helicopter; I spent the first eighteen years of my life living under the landing path for Philadelphia International Airport, so I'm pretty familiar with what those look like.

I did toy with the idea of tracking the thing down, but it was 10:15 at night, I was kinda tired, had to be up early the next day, and had no idea how far I'd have to go to find it (though, now that I think about it, the thing did seem to move along PA-741 pretty well).

Well, you had your shot and you missed it.

By now the wreckage and bodies have been carted off to Area 51 and the Newspapers all say "Weather Balloon Came Down Undramatically near PA-741."

KaiYeves
2007-Nov-10, 02:13 PM
By now the wreckage and bodies have been carted off to Area 51 and the Newspapers all say "Weather Balloon Came Down Undramatically near PA-741."
Even if that headline happened to be true sixty years ago?

Neverfly
2007-Nov-10, 02:19 PM
Even if that headline happened to be true sixty years ago?

;) Don't ruin it for me.

NEOWatcher
2007-Nov-12, 01:56 PM
Reading his posts, I couldn't get a good indication of velocity.
10 degrees (hand width) over the course of a few seconds. Way too slow for a meteorite.

I don't understand why the concensus is "Iridium flare" Which I have seen and I know the difference between the two, when seeing a chunk fall from the sky isn't unusual by any means:doh:
Well...
-The descriptions of strange lights usually do fit.
-Its a phenomenom that not many are familiar with.
-Its a good start because the information can researched.

I disagree with the iridium flare theory- based on observational account not matching an Iridium Flare by any means.
Based on the discussion, I would agree with you up to the point of "by any means". The OP did sound very close.

My only concern is that it was viewed from inside. That opens up a lot more interpretation issues.


I also know that it wasn't a plane or a helicopter; I spent the first eighteen years of my life living under the landing path for Philadelphia International Airport, so I'm pretty familiar with what those look like.
But; what about higher altitudes?
I wonder if maybe it was some strange effect of plane lights hitting a wisp of a cloud.


... but it was 10:15 at night, I was kinda tired, had to be up early the next day...
:think:

aurora
2007-Nov-12, 02:32 PM
A bolide can leave a dust trail that is visible for many seconds -- at first it glows and then later it can still be seen with binos. This can happen at high altitude, and nothing remains to reach the surface of the Earth.

Or, another way to get a glowing trail is to have a rocket of some type. I've seen some truly amazing pictures on APOD, like

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap040722.html

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020926.html

olivia
2007-Nov-12, 10:28 PM
I saw it too!!

I was driving sounth on route 97 (just before Westminster, MD). It was falling just over the highway from west to east. It was huge. A thousand times bigger than any shooting star I've ever seen, and it was turquoise. It landed just east of the road (a few miles I'm sure, but relatively close considering). I'm not into astrology, but this thing was impressive which is why I'm here. I did a google search to see if anyone else had witnessed it. I nearly drove my car off the road...

eburacum45
2007-Nov-12, 10:51 PM
I saw it too!!

It landed just east of the road (a few miles I'm sure, but relatively close considering). I'm not into astrology, but this thing was impressive which is why I'm here.

Excellent confirmation!
However I wouldn't be too sure that it landed a few miles from your location. These things are usually visible at a height of forty or fifty miles- which means the landing spot could be many tens of miles from yours location, perhaps hundreds.

Oh, and when you see a meteor, you are doing astronomy, not astrology- a very different and much more interesting pastime.

Kaptain K
2007-Nov-12, 11:53 PM
... Not to mention most meteors burn up - very few land, even if they go beyond the horizon.

Swordfish
2007-Nov-13, 01:48 AM
Again, the speed and tail length were guesses I made about ten minutes after I saw it.


But; what about higher altitudes?
I wonder if maybe it was some strange effect of plane lights hitting a wisp of a cloud.

I've seen all different planes at all different altitudes in lots of different conditions over the course of my life (in fact, I sometimes go out of my way to watch a plane move across the sky), and I highly doubt it was a plane.

It's great that someone else actually saw it, so I know I'm not completely insane, but I'm afraid I can't confirm the color that you saw, olivia, since I'm colorblind.

Jens
2007-Nov-13, 02:52 AM
Just as a suggestion to the two people who saw it. If it was so impressive, other people might have noticed it too. You might consider calling your local newspaper, because sometimes they'll report something like that and then other people will call to mention they saw it too, and you might get a better idea of where it was, etc.

NEOWatcher
2007-Nov-13, 08:21 PM
... You might consider calling your local newspaper, because sometimes they'll report something like that ...
Oooh, ooow... all you have to say is that you have not identified what it was, and you go down in flames as a UFO nut.

Unfortunately, the media probably won't report it if they can't make some incredible twist to it. Too bad, because it would be a good idea otherwise.

olivia
2007-Nov-13, 09:14 PM
Sorry, yes of course it is astronomy. I feel very silly. I didn't mean to offend anyone... or make myself look uneducated! Just a slip. :)

Tunga
2007-Nov-13, 09:24 PM
Over 30 years ago, I was outside about a half block from the Pacific Ocean. It was dusk. The moon was large. But another very bright object suddenly appeared and grew larger and larger until it became 50 percent larger than the moon and almost as bright as the sun. I thought I had a front row seat at the end of the world. So I called for my friend to come down and witness it. It took approximately 30 seconds, but this object vaporized into nothingness. What was left was a large trail that swirled and spiraled like a corkscrew on itself. It was a truely astonishing sight to see. I later found out it was a booster from a Vandenberg AFB missile launch reentering the atmosphere.

01101001
2007-Nov-14, 02:32 AM
Sorry, yes of course it is astronomy. I feel very silly. I didn't mean to offend anyone... or make myself look uneducated!

You're not the first. Welcome to BAUT.

Here's a cookie -- an ambigram of Olivia, reading the same upside down:

http://www.01101001.com/images/olivia_t.gif (http://www.01101001.com/images/olivia.gif)

olivia
2007-Nov-15, 06:27 PM
Thanks! That's really interesting. All of my coworkers are impressed as well!

Sir Real
2008-May-29, 02:54 PM
Okay, I have seen many meteor showers. I have seen Iridium flares. I live in the environs of Los Angeles, so such things are not common when I'm in town.

This morning, I saw the absolute slowest, brightest, and longest duration meteor I've ever seen. At approximately 4:55am PDT, I saw a meteor. It started just South of zenith, and arced towards the Southeast, ending at about 20 degrees above the horizon. It was much brighter than an Iridium flare. The entire fall lasted about 4 seconds. The "tail" was about 20 degrees in length. At the end of the fall, it appeared to break up/explode in a very short duration "pop". Nothing audible, though.

Just thought I'd report that one. It's one of the three most unusual meteor falls I've seen this year.

Kaptain K
2008-May-29, 03:20 PM
Sounds to me more like a satellite re-entry than a meteor.