Debunked: Meteorite? Paris, Oxford County, Maine [Sunlit contrail segment with shadow]

[Admin Update] Solved! It's a short segment of contrail from flight UA 4597, Illuminated head-on by the setting sun, casting a shadow behind, and drifting and spreading in the wind. Full explanation in the thread below.




 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think it's just an oddly lit segment of a contrail. It's lit from the front, so casts a shadow behind.

The plane is long gone, this is a couple of minutes after the contrail has formed, so it has spread a bit.

The light is all coming from the sun. The trail is not moving forward, just spreading and drifting in the wind.

It's stopped rather abruptly, because it's entered a region of less humid air. There's some spreading at this point, probably due to wind shear between the two regions.
 
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Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
I was gonna debate Mick about the contrail there for a second until I went back and took a real close look at the video again and ignored the camera shaking around.. I agree with him, its most likely a contrail
 
Ok I get it. It appears to be a falling object due to the angle of camera in respect to the angle of the contrail. And the tail of the contrail is in the shadows due to the low angle of the sun. Thanks.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Stitching some frames together to get perspective:


Overlaying a 5 mile grid at 35,000 feet. Photos aligned by buildings and treeline. Sun position via google earth at sunset.


Trail is pointing directly at the sun. So it's a contrail, from a plane in level flight, which ended abruptly as it entered a new region of air. The setting sun it it dramatically, and because it was lined up with the sun it cast a volumetric shadow behind.

The trail itself is about 5 miles long, and from around 15-20 miles away (it's on the diagonal of the squares).
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
seems to be from some guy Bruce York. it hit FB.
 

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you think they could see it in Virginia?
It was just a report on Bruces youtube page. I guess it would depend on how high.
I have seen missile shots from vandenberg as a kid from san diego. and one here in Salt lake that launched in arizona. there was a report from N.C. also there is an hr. difference in the reporting.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
@Robert Tankersley

Simply put: meteors, bolides, and satellite re-entries don't create persistent, glowing trails as they pass through the atmosphere. The video and pictures you've linked typify reflected sunlight.

For illustrative purposes, here's a satellite re-entry (granted, shot from NASA's DC-8 rather than the ground, but you should get the idea):


Also, note that even a comparatively substantial object like the Chelyabinsk meteor (with an entry mass of 12,000+ metric tonnes) doesn't behave like a sunlit contrail: [video]
 
@Robert Tankersley

Simply put: meteors, bolides, and satellite re-entries don't create persistent, glowing trails as they pass through the atmosphere. The video and pictures you've linked typify reflected sunlight.

For illustrative purposes, here's a satellite re-entry (granted, shot from NASA's DC-8 rather than the ground, but you should get the idea):


Also, note that even a comparatively substantial object like the Chelyabinsk meteor (with an entry mass of 12,000+ metric tonnes) doesn't behave like a sunlit contrail: [video]
Thanks cosmic Im learning a lot here. But I did see a trail on the russian meteor.

This is what I saw In San Diego. It was huge in the sky. This pic was from a different angle but it was an awesome site
27sep02b.jpg
 
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cosmic

Senior Member.
But you would agree that it is a persistent trail and depending on where the sun is in relation to the trail would determine the illumination.

Sure, just like Mick's illustration of the contrail in post #6.

The point, though, is that the reflection of sunlight off of the meteor's trail shouldn't be confused with the energy released during its battle with the atmosphere. The "fiery glow" dissipates quite rapidly, in a matter of seconds -- a stark contrast to the video in the OP, where it remains fairly consistent for over two and a half minutes.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Part of the reason this one looks so odd is that the plane is out of the picture, and it's just a segment of a contrail.

But compare it with this, where we see both a contrail being formed (zooming in we see the plane), and some segments of the trail as it has passed though patchy air.


Now consider the contrail segment in the upper right. If that was all there was, and the sun was a little higher, and this was lined up with the sun, then it would not look too dissimilar to the contrail in the OP.

Or see this video:
At the start we see a contrail segment on the left. Then at about 0:20 we see another segment left as the plane approaches the horizon (still in level flight mind).
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And the key thing to remember with all of this is that you see these trails at sunset, at the precise moment in time when the sun will light them up so they look (in still images) a bit like a meteor.

description from the Youtube Video
Note I have the time set in my Google Earth re-creation for 5:01pm, and that gives the precise location of the sun.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
KMZ of flight attached

Track viewed from Paris, ME:


Overlaid with the contrail fragment.


While it does not at first glance appear to be a good match, it actually is. Contrails do not follow the tracks of planes, they are blown out at a different angle to the track. Here the trail has been blown to the north.

Here's the track from above, with a potential path of the contrail. Notice a relatively shallow angle.


And here is what it looks like from Paris: Note both the plane track and the contrail track are at the same altitude, 36,000 feet.
 

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cosmic

Senior Member.
In the interest of accuracy, I should qualify what I stated in post #11. While it's generally rare for meteors to generate luminous remnants, it does happen occasionally. Example: A meteor's lingering tale

From the AMS:


On average most meteors are very small, and usually wouldn't resemble a contrail. It's understandable that distinguishing between the two might not seem easy at first, possibly due to how meteors are frequently depicted in the media and film.

scvm.jpg


Edit: fixed opening phrase due to a case brain on vacation.
 
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pseacraft

Active Member
I hope this works, I shot this time lapse on 12 August 2013 during the Perseid Meteor shower and captured a short lived Meteor Trail or Train. Each frame is 17.6 seconds (I thought I shot at 9 seconds but no) and I was able to discern it for 12 frames on the laptop. You can see how rapidly the gas cloud spreads and dissipates. It was not visible to the eye, at least not mine at the time of capture. I have seen this three times now but only once captured on any type of media.

 

cosmic

Senior Member.
As an aside, trying to find quality meteor and bolide videos on YouTube has become quite a difficult exercise; you really have to sort though a ton of misidentifications, misrepresentations, and doomsday nonsense in the process. If videos like these were more easily accessible, they might help people make the distinction between astronomical events and jet contrails. Some typical fireballs:



 
From WMTW, Portland's ABC affiliate: Man records fireball in sky in Oxford County

They've posted the story to their Facebook page also; someone in the comments section has already provided a link to this thread. Hopefully that will help.
He had the link even before that news article was out. Maybe Edward Gleason, staff astronomer at the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine needs a link to it too. Impressive title maybe he should have referred with his boss before making that statement.



 

cosmic

Senior Member.
He had the link even before that news article was out.

Ah, I didn't realize it had been shared with him previously. If nothing else, perhaps it'll be of use to others in the comment section.

Maybe Edward Gleason, staff astronomer at the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine needs a link to it too.

Maybe I'll send him a note. Even planetarium managers aren't infallible. ;)
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
I've seen a fireball meteor. There was a crackly, fizzling sound along with flame. I don't think it was very big, just really close. It only lasted a couple of seconds. I think it burned out before it hit the ground. Was an amazing site.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
People on Fb seem to be having issues with the perspective, (which is kinda understandable-see cross pic) even though the other shadowed clouds/contrails? are the exact same angle.

perspective.JPG sky.jpg
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Missed this one in the WMTW comments previously -- unfortunately, Mr. York seems unswayed.

by.png
is that 21 hours from right now? cause his friend didn't give him the metabunk link till at most 19 hrs ago. but no, he still doesn't know what it is. youtube says he doesn't think its a chemtrail or contrail, but he didn't say we have rocks for brains! ; )

by.JPG
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
is that 21 hours from right now? cause his friend didn't give him the metabunk link till at most 19 hrs ago.

Yes, I screenied that right before posting. Robert pointed out a few posts back that he'd shared a link to this thread back on the 9th, though.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
is that 21 hours from right now? cause his friend didn't give him the metabunk link till at most 19 hrs ago. but no, he still doesn't know what it is. youtube says he doesn't think its a chemtrail or contrail, but he didn't say we have rocks for brains! ; )

by.JPG

In that Facebook comment they say the images don't line up - but they actually do. I was very careful there. I lined them up using the tree line and the stitched images are lined up with the clouds when no trees are visible.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
oops guess he was talking about you ; ) on an upnote I got to point out that the astronomer only "if I had to guess" gave an opinion too.

lol.JPG
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
In that Facebook comment they say the images don't line up - but they actually do. I was very careful there. I lined them up using the tree line and the stitched images are lined up with the clouds when no trees are visible.
I think they think it is falling. not laying horizontal. that's whats tripping them up
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
In that Facebook comment they say the images don't line up - but they actually do. I was very careful there. I lined them up using the tree line and the stitched images are lined up with the clouds when no trees are visible.
that's the girl from that group (forget name now) I told you about earlier. maybe she just doesn't like you :p
 
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