It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Since the only weird thing about this "event" is the trajectory reported by one of the pilots, here a very crude graphic with a possible explanation implying that atmospheric optical refraction is what caused the confusion. Refraction can cause an object to appear higher than it is and the lower on the horizon it is the more it will be affected by it, as the object moves up compared to horizon it's perceived position "re-alligns" with the real one
That is a very nice explanation, Orb, of an extremely plausible and IMHO extremely probable visual mis-identification of a meteor event. Along with the possibility of atmospheric refraction causing an illusory trajectory...there are also the following confounding perceptual factors, that may be in play for this event:
1) We have two objects both in relative motion with each other, the airplane observer(s) and the meteor.
2) The observers are at altitude, and they have no stationary ground objects in field of view (e.g. trees, buildings, mountains, etc.) to act as stationary reference point, by which to judge relative motion. This can present perceptual difficulties in judging motion and vector.
3) A meteor often breaks apart as it burns up in the upper atmosphere. This can create two or more distinct luminous objects appearing to follow the same path/trajectory. Depending on the background brightness of the sky, the meteor may present as a bright fireball, yet with no discernible "tail" or streak. The luminescent ionization trail (normally quite visible in a dark night sky), is washed out by the ambient background light, thus the primary fireball or fireballs may be only visible as discrete, fast moving points of light.
Note that (3) is remarkably consistent with the report from Virgin Airlines plane (Orlando to Manchester) which described the sight as a “meteor or another object making some kind of re-entry”, adding it seemed to be “multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory – very bright from where we were.”
4) As the bollide finishes burning up, the intrinsic and apparent luminosity decreases rapidly. The drop in brightness can be mis-perceived as an object with a constant luminosity, yet rapidly moving away to a distant vanishing point. The same drop in luminosity occurs if the meteor is simply grazing the atmosphere (dipping in, then skipping out).
originally posted by: BASSPLYR
I think these pilots are clearly mistaken.
Nobody can do reliable Hypersonics. There is no such thing as a mature hypersonic programor technologies. Nothing can beat the nine minute mark in hypersonics. The TBCC engine is the only way to possibly do hypersonics. China is the forefront of hypersonics, the western world cant figure it out at all, even with the best scientists and money. Nothing was glowing the pilots had retinal fatigue from staring at their instrument displays all night....AND DONT YOU FORGET IT!!!