Meteor or Contrail?

davidc

New Member
Wanted to canvas the sage advice of you guys, do you think this is a plane contrail or an incredibly fortuitous meteor capture?

http://flickr.com/gp/cedarsphoto/R73k05



I'm inclined to say the former given the likelihood of the latter happening but what surprised me was that my Dad (who took the pic) exposed for the sunrise so as you can see the bulk of the rest of the scene is near-silhouetted. I'd have expected the plane to be visible, even if only as a couple of dark pixels, not an elongated bulbous head on the end of the "trail/tail"?

I'm asking him to check to see if he has images taken immediately before/after that show a similar scene which will be useful in narrowing it down but for what it's worth he doesn't remember seeing the object at all and was stood taking photos of the sunrise for about 30 mins.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's a contrail. It's fairly close to the horizon, so probably 100 miles away. The trail is wider than the plane, and a lot brighter. There's also a lot of perspective foreshortening. It's higher than those clouds, so brighter.

Here's a timelapse video I took of similar contrails.

 
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cloudspotter

Senior Member.
Wanted to canvas the sage advice of you guys, do you think this is a plane contrail or an incredibly fortuitous meteor capture?

http://flickr.com/gp/cedarsphoto/R73k05



I'm inclined to say the former given the likelihood of the latter happening but what surprised me was that my Dad (who took the pic) exposed for the sunrise so as you can see the bulk of the rest of the scene is near-silhouetted. I'd have expected the plane to be visible, even if only as a couple of dark pixels, not an elongated bulbous head on the end of the "trail/tail"?

I'm asking him to check to see if he has images taken immediately before/after that show a similar scene which will be useful in narrowing it down but for what it's worth he doesn't remember seeing the object at all and was stood taking photos of the sunrise for about 30 mins.

Contrail I'd say. I regularly see planes on that particular flight path. ;)
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
The luminosity is what makes one think 'meteor' , but it's more likely just a lit-up contrail.

Would a meteor trail 'glow' anyway, or is that just our expectation because we usually see them at night?
 

pseacraft

Active Member
Not sure if I can share my time lapse from the Perseid shower this past August but I did manage to capture the smoke trail dissipating in the atmosphere. I had seen this once before by chance via binoculars and was very pleased this year to see it again but also to capture it in my time lapse. Hope it works or I'll have to move it to another host.


linked to Vimeo version. fingers crossed... :) Best viewed on a full screen.
 
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cosmic

Senior Member.
Would a meteor trail 'glow' anyway, or is that just our expectation because we usually see them at night?

A meteor train can be seen in daylight if the object is large enough (see #3 on the AMS FAQ). We probably won't witness anything on the scale of the Chelyabinsk object's entry for a while (love this video, pardon the silly title), though less dramatic instances are captured periodically (NASA).
 
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