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brink
2008-Dec-13, 08:48 AM
Just driving to work on a normal day last Thursday around 11AM when I looked up and saw an object literally falling straight down out of the sky with a fiery tail. There were people in car beside me pointing at it and calling people to tell them about it. Eventually as I kept driving it looked like the object picked up an orbit and started to move further away. I tried to snap a picture (http://gxleague.net/photo.jpg) with my phone but unfortunately I was a little late.. so all you can really see is a fiery looking tail in the sky.

By the way I am positive this wasn't any sort of plane, this thing was falling straight down and you could literally see the fire.. I would've loved to be in one of the planes that flew by it though!!

Joe

flynjack1
2008-Dec-13, 06:24 PM
Always neat to see such things, but if its not too personal where did you see it? Do you recall from which direction it came and went?

aurora
2008-Dec-13, 06:51 PM
Looks like you got to see an incredibly bright bolide!

brink
2008-Dec-13, 06:54 PM
I am from Memphis, TN. I was driving north, the object appeared to have picked up an orbit and began to start flying the same way I was headed. Eventually the fiery block faded off into what almost looked like a Star in the Daylight sky. I could still see the yellow glowing of the object for a long time after it appeared to be far away. Also I saw another one the same day, actually in the same 30 minute window. Kind of scary to be honest, everyone in the cars around me was going nuts.

ryanmercer
2008-Dec-16, 11:43 AM
Just driving to work on a normal day last Thursday around 11AM when I looked up and saw an object literally falling straight down out of the sky with a fiery tail. There were people in car beside me pointing at it and calling people to tell them about it. Eventually as I kept driving it looked like the object picked up an orbit and started to move further away. I tried to snap a picture (http://gxleague.net/photo.jpg) with my phone but unfortunately I was a little late.. so all you can really see is a fiery looking tail in the sky.

By the way I am positive this wasn't any sort of plane, this thing was falling straight down and you could literally see the fire.. I would've loved to be in one of the planes that flew by it though!!

Joe

Still a pretty cool photo

Ara Pacis
2008-Dec-17, 06:18 AM
Not an Iridium flare?

ryanmercer
2008-Dec-17, 11:22 AM
OP did it look something like http://pictures.ed-morana.com/IridiumFlares/IridFlare2.jpg

Thats a daytime shot of an Iridium Flare.

NEOWatcher
2008-Dec-17, 03:37 PM
OP did it look something like [pic]
Thats a daytime shot of an Iridium Flare.

What part of the daytime? It looks like late evening/early morning judging by the coloring and what looks like shadows on the house. While the OP was 11am. Good picture though.

So; wouldn't there be some drastic contrast differences? I've seen daytime flares, and it seems to me that they wouldn't show up that well on a mid-day picture.

I also think a flare would be too short to see it and then be able to grab the camera to shoot it while it was still bright enough.

ryanmercer
2008-Dec-17, 10:21 PM
What part of the daytime? It looks like late evening/early morning judging by the coloring and what looks like shadows on the house. While the OP was 11am. Good picture though.

So; wouldn't there be some drastic contrast differences? I've seen daytime flares, and it seems to me that they wouldn't show up that well on a mid-day picture.

I also think a flare would be too short to see it and then be able to grab the camera to shoot it while it was still bright enough.

Not my photo, just a random one from google images. I never get fun pictures of stuff in the sky, except for various indigenous raptors.

brink
2008-Dec-19, 10:33 AM
Still a pretty cool photo

The picture was taken in the early afternoon around 11-12. It didn't look like that Iiridium flare. I could see the long fiery tail and even though my picture was taken after the fact.. When it first started it was literally falling straight down. Looked like a fire in the sky, Moving slowly. I was happy to see the wind pick it up, I've never seen anything fall in that direction.

ryanmercer
2008-Dec-19, 11:37 AM
The picture was taken in the early afternoon around 11-12. It didn't look like that Iiridium flare. I could see the long fiery tail and even though my picture was taken after the fact.. When it first started it was literally falling straight down. Looked like a fire in the sky, Moving slowly. I was happy to see the wind pick it up, I've never seen anything fall in that direction.

Interesting, see anything about it in the local news?

aurora
2008-Dec-19, 02:19 PM
The picture was taken in the early afternoon around 11-12. It didn't look like that Iiridium flare. I could see the long fiery tail and even though my picture was taken after the fact.. When it first started it was literally falling straight down. Looked like a fire in the sky, Moving slowly. I was happy to see the wind pick it up, I've never seen anything fall in that direction.

If it was a bolide, it might have looked like it was falling straight down, at least for a bit, and then it may have looked like the wind picked it up, but it would have been really high, like 50 miles up, most of the time, so the change in direction would have been due to your location compared to its path.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-20, 02:12 AM
Just driving to work on a normal day last Thursday around 11AM...


The picture was taken in the early afternoon around 11-12.
Did you mean "late morning" rather than "early afternoon"?
The date was 11 December, or 11-12 exactly, not "around 11-12".

The description sounds to me like a short contrail from a jet.
Do you have any reason it couldn't be?



When it first started it was literally falling straight down. Looked like a
fire in the sky, Moving slowly. I was happy to see the wind pick it up,
I've never seen anything fall in that direction.
Most things that I see falling are falling nearly straight down.

What do you mean by the wind picking it up? What impression did
you get of its interaction with the wind? And from your first post,
what did you mean by the object looking like it "picked up an orbit
and started to move further away"? I can't guess what you meant
by "picked up an orbit".

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

brink
2008-Dec-20, 06:33 PM
If it was a bolide, it might have looked like it was falling straight down, at least for a bit, and then it may have looked like the wind picked it up, but it would have been really high, like 50 miles up, most of the time, so the change in direction would have been due to your location compared to its path.


This explains almost exactly what I saw.

I saw something on the local news about a meteor being found in Arkansas, which is rather close to me. A farmer apparently found it in his field the day after. According to him, the object was appeared to be a rock but had glass literally covering the whole thing. He turned it in to some research lab for further investigation.


Jeff,
The date was unknown, but it was 11, in the late morning. Although that information is irrelevant. I think you are taking something simple and making it scienctifically difficult. The object fell literally straight down, while most objects (IE jets, meteors) appear to be moving diagonally from the Earth's surface, it continued to fall straight down until it appeared to "pick up an orbit" or get "picked up by the wind" and start moving in a different manner. This was not a contrail, it had fire behind it.. not smoke.

Have you ever seen something that is literally falling straight down and not at an angle from that far up? Probably not, and that's what made it interesting to me.

The picture I took is after about 30 minutes of watching it fall straight down, my picture is from when the object was already moving in a different direction. I've seen shooting stars & I've seen meteor showers, and quite frankly this did not look like either one.

Jeff Root
2008-Dec-21, 06:33 AM
Jeff,
The date was unknown, but it was 11, in the late morning.
You said in your first post, on Saturday, December 13:


Just driving to work on a normal day last Thursday...
I took that to mean two days earlier: December 11. Was it a week
and two days earlier, instead? December 4?



The object fell literally straight down, while most objects (IE jets,
meteors) appear to be moving diagonally from the Earth's surface,
it continued to fall straight down until it appeared to "pick up an
orbit" or get "picked up by the wind" and start moving in a different
manner. This was not a contrail, it had fire behind it.. not smoke.
It still isn't clear what you mean by the expression "pick up an orbit".

Why do you mention smoke? A contrail is made of water droplets,
exactly the same as a cloud. Contrails are white, so reflect sunlight
very well just like clouds do. It isn't at all rare to see contrails that
extend only a few hundred feet behind the plane. Whether a contrail
appears at all, and how long it lasts if one does appear, depend to a
large extent on the temperature and relative humidity of the air that
the plane is flying through.

From a distance, a short, bright contrail could look like a flame.



Have you ever seen something that is literally falling straight down and
not at an angle from that far up? Probably not, and that's what made it
interesting to me.
I've probably seen between 50 and 100 meteors that were moving
toward the horizon in a direction that was so close to straight down
that I couldn't detect any angle. I'm thinking of one particular bright
green meteor that I saw on a very cold night while walking south a
block away from where I am now. Straight down, lasted almost one
second. The direction of a meteor's fall is essentially meaningless,
since it depends so much on where the observer is located relative
to the path.



The picture I took is after about 30 minutes of watching it fall
straight down,
Then what you saw was definitely not a meteor.

The longest meteor I've seen lasted about 1.5 seconds, which is
quite spectacularly long. That meteor burned up in the upper
atmosphere.

The Peekskill meteor of 1992 lasted for 40 seconds. It was brighter
than the full moon, and was videotaped by at least 16 people.

This web page has a link to a 1.64 MB video:

The Peekskill Fireball (http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/shadow/solar_system_level2/peekskill.html)

A still photo on the page shows what it looked like just after the
main meteoroid body broke up into fragments.

The events surrounding the fall of the Peekskill meteorite on
October 9, 1992 were quite unique. It was observed by many
people who were attending a football game, being photographed
and videotaped by over a dozen people. The meteorite was found
crashed into the trunk of a parked car.

Photo of the meteorite and the car it hit. (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap021118.html)

The longest meteor trail ever witnessed was on August 10, 1972,
over Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Alberta-- a distance of about a
thousand miles. It was seen in the middle of the day by thousands
of people, and at least one person got a super-8 movie of it. It was
brilliant white and made a solid streak across the sky, lasting between
ten and twenty minutes. Luckily, the meteoroid only skimmed Earth's
atmosphere. It entered the atmosphere and then left again. Its size
and mass has been widely debated. Many estimates are that it was
the size of a very large house. It could have wiped out an entire
city if it had hit the ground.

That meteor was visible at any one point along the track for about
five minutes at most, as it went from horizon to horizon.



my picture is from when the object was already moving in a different
direction. I've seen shooting stars & I've seen meteor showers, and
quite frankly this did not look like either one.
Is it possible that your estimate of how long you watched the thing is
way off? If you only saw it when it was at the top of your windshield
and headed straight down, a commercial jet would reach the horizon in
less than 20 minutes, possibly less than ten.




If it was a bolide, it might have looked like it was falling straight down,
at least for a bit, and then it may have looked like the wind picked it up,
but it would have been really high, like 50 miles up, most of the time, so
the change in direction would have been due to your location compared
to its path.
This explains almost exactly what I saw.
Aurora's explanation doesn't work. Your motion on the ground would
have neglible effect on the direction to an object a hundred miles away,
especially if it was in front of you the whole time. You would need to
have been driving perpendicular to the object's path to have any effect
on the direction to it.

Whatever you saw was in the atmosphere. If you really did see it for
more than 30 minutes, it was moving slowly-- less than 500 mph-- or
it would have been long gone before you could take a photo of it.

I suspect that you saw a jet flying at 500-600 mph, and that you only
saw it for 5-10 minutes before you took the photo.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

brink
2008-Dec-22, 12:54 AM
Jeff,

I've taken the time to rethink the situation. The distance from my house to my work is approximately 15 minutes. I started to see the meteor when I pulled out on the main street, 5 minutes from home. I must've been looking at the meteor for no longer then 10 minutes before I went inside of my workplace... Quite possibly even less time then that depending on the traffic that day.

I assure you this was not a jet because I could see fire coming from behind it. Everyone next to me in their cars were looking at the object in shock, that's when I knew I wasn't delusional. It appeared to be moving slow but was much more wide then any jet I have seen. Also I've never seen a jet that continues to be yellow light in the sky after it is far away, and the fire did not stay in the air for long like a contrail would. I only wish that I could've taken a picture when it looked the best.