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

cosmic

Senior Member.
It's hard to dissuade people sometimes, even if you've got all the facts right. Because "I know what I saw" trumps everything.

Yep, and it's compounded by inexperienced observers hoping they've captured something exotic rather than recognizing the mundane.

I'm guessing we won't see an appropriate media follow-up for similar reasons; "boring" doesn't lure viewers or generate page clicks.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Another important note about "space junk": there were no re-entry predictions or events listed for the date Mr. York filmed his video.

Given that there are multiple networks in place which actively track and monitor tens of thousands of objects -- active and dead satellites, rocket stages, and other pieces of orbital debris -- it's highly unlikely that anything substantial would fall back to Earth without being noticed and announced in advance. Judging by the comments on Facebook and the news articles, I'm guessing most people aren't aware of these operations.

Aside from the issue of a sunlit contrail not visually resembling space junk hurtling through the atmosphere, this should serve as ample reason to disregard the idea.


How do we know where space debris is located?
A Space Surveillance Network (SSN) operated by the U. S. Air Force tracks objects in space. The SSN has radar and optical sensors at various sites around the world as shown in the figure below. Theses sensors observe and track objects that are larger than a softball in low Earth orbits and basketball-sized objects, or larger, in higher, geosynchronous orbits. The sensors can determine which orbit the objects are in and that information is used to predict close approaches, reentries, and the probability of a collision. Other nations also run space object tracking systems.

SSN1.png
Content from External Source
The JSpOC maintains the catalog of all artificial Earth-orbiting objects, charts preset positions for orbital flight safety, and predicts objects reentering the Earth's atmosphere. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, over 39,000 man-made objects have been catalogued, many of which have since re-entered the atmosphere. Currently, the JSpOC tracks more than 16,000 objects orbiting Earth. About 5 percent of those being tracked are functioning payloads or satellites, 8 percent are rocket bodies, and about 87 percent are debris and/or inactive satellites.

JSpOC tasks the Space Surveillance Network (SSN), a worldwide network of 30 space surveillance sensors (radar and optical telescopes, both military and civilian) to observe the objects. The crews match sensor observations to the orbiting objects, catalog, and update the position and velocity of each one. These updates form the Satellite Catalog, a comprehensive listing of the numbers, types, and orbits of all trackable objects in space.

The JSpOC uses the SSN to take between 380,000 to 420,000 observations each day.
Content from External Source

More info:
Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies
USSTRATCOM Space Control and Space Surveillance
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Another important note about "space junk": there were no re-entry predictions or events listed for the date Mr. York filmed his video.


Aside from the issue of a sunlit contrail not visually resembling space junk hurtling through the atmosphere, this should serve as ample reason to disregard the idea.



More info:
Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies
USSTRATCOM Space Control and Space Surveillance
and wouldn't there be a bigger contrail further up? heres that huge Russian meteor. even if a bit of the contrail broke off and drifted..somewhere in the sky would be the rest of the tail up higher where its colder again. does that make sense, my description?
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
and wouldn't there be a bigger contrail further up? heres that huge Russian meteor. even if a bit of the contrail broke off and drifted..somewhere in the sky would be the rest of the tail up higher where its colder again. does that make sense, my description?

It's a bit more complicated than that.

Air temperature is variable rather than consistently colder as altitude increases (graphic). The Chelyabinsk meteor's trail began to form at ~68km, and was observed to be thickest through the comparatively warmer air of the lower mesosphere and upper stratosphere than where it thinned under 26km (Borovička et al.).
 

Jason

Senior Member
Here's a comparison of the trail evolving over the 2m 33s of the video
This is most definitely a contrail. If it were a meteor the event would've been over in less than a second given the frame of motion Mick provided in #6. A meteor traveling at an avg velocity of 14km/s to 70km/s depending on its approach into our atmosphere would've traversed the 5 miles or 8 km in under a second but we can see it clearly took over 2 and half minutes to move across that space
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This is most definitely a contrail. If it were a meteor the event would've been over in less than a second given the frame of motion Mick provided in #6. A meteor traveling at an avg velocity of 14km/s to 70km/s depending on its approach into our atmosphere would've traversed the 5 miles or 8 km in under a second but we can see it clearly took over 2 and half minutes to move across that space

That four frame image is not really indicative on any sideways motion. It's more to illustrate the slow spreading out. Also the first image is at the wrong angle.
 
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