1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    Above Oct 2 image from Martin van Hemert, who writes via email:

    The second image here from Martin is from Nov 18 2009, and shows a trail generally believed to have been from a bolide:


    My initial impression was that these were rocket trails, however there is a known trail from a small asteroid over Sudan in 2008 which looks quite similar:

    Reports of the Oct 2nd meteor can be found here:

    The view in the photo from Payson is approximately ENE, or around 70°

    Which would seem to eliminate White Sands in New Mexico, unless the sounding rockets there fly far North.

    What do people think? Another bolide trail?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
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  2. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    That's an amazing array of wind directions to twist it so much!!

    I looked up "twisted meteor trail" and found this article of one over Arizona September 2012 (with associated conspiracy theory!!) -
    The article has a number of photos of other instances as well.
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  3. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    SOTT is not a good source. That one is probably a rocket launch.
  4. Chew

    Chew Senior Member

  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    You would not see the trail until pre-dawn though. Although it would be surprising if there are no other report of this trail. It's not as dramatic as the 2009 trail, but still interesting.
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  6. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    Is the wispy appearance because it is literally smoke and more easily wafted around as it's lighter than typical contrails and also lacks their ice crystal structure?
  7. Jason

    Jason Senior Member

    Does the fact that they are going "up" as opposed to how a plane travels have anything to do with why rocket "trails" always look so pronounced and zig zaggish?
  8. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    Or in this case 'down' through the atmosphere. But yes good point.
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not entirely sure, I think some rocket trails actually are ice clouds. Higher up clouds tends to be wispier though, maybe because there is less air.

    The zig-zag is because they are vertical though, passing though layers of air that move in different directions.
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