Slow meteor at a distance

Bernie77

New Member
Amateur astronomers I have spoken to have all told me that despite staying up all night in remote locations numerous times, they have no incidents of seeing things for which there weren't an explanation.
I've attended a handful of all night "star parties" myself, and can only report one incident of which there was any question. It was a moonless night (during which most star parties are held) near the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. We were of course seeing meteors all night. There was one however, for which the consensus was that it also was a meteor, where the object was near the southern horizon and moved slower than one was used to seeing meteors moving. It was faster however than one would expect a plane to move at the apparent distance. It did not blink and it wasn't a streak like most meteors but a point of light that lasted about five seconds. I wanted to ask is what we saw consistent with perhaps a meteor bouncing off the upper atmosphere seen from a distance?

Thanks
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It was faster however than one would expect a plane to move at the apparent distance. It did not blink and it wasn't a streak like most meteors but a point of light that lasted about five seconds.
Sounds a bit like a satellite flare.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
We were of course seeing meteors all night. There was one however, for which the consensus was that it also was a meteor, where the object was near the southern horizon and moved slower than one was used to seeing meteors moving.
Expectations matter.

Humans are inclined to use their expectations to make sense of the world around them. Expectations are usually created from past experiences, and this kind of learning ability has helped humans conquer the world.

So it's not surprising that amateur astronomers would not see things in the sky for which there is no explanation: they are expecting astronomical phenomena, so anything that might look like one will be explained as one, even if it isn't.

If an UFOlogist looks at the sky, they're hoping for aliens, so anything that might look like a flying saucer will be explained as one, even if it isn't.

If a QAnon follower looks at the news, they're expecting a conspiracy, so anything that might look like one will be explained as one, even if it isn't.

It's human nature, unfortunately.
 

Bernie77

New Member
Just to clarify, Jayne is right in that soon we will non longer be able to see the predictable Iridium flares as the last of those sattelites will soon be reentering the atmosphere as thier orbits decay.
 
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