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Perseid Meteor Shower 2010 or UFO? Experienced Sky Gazers Please Help

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posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 05:13 AM
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I work third shift and a co-worker and I witnessed a phenomenon that I am hoping was the Perseid Meteor Shower which became visible on July 17th.

www.chiff.com...



The Perseid meteor shower is an annual meteor shower that is extremely regular in its timing and can potentially be visible for weeks in the late summer sky, depending on weather and location.





People in Canada, for instance, can see the meteor shower by mid-July, but generally there isn't much activity at such an early date. Throughout Europe, the US and the rest of North America, meteor shower activity usually peaks sometime around August 12th, when it is not unusual to see at least 60 meteors per hour streaking across the Northeast sky.


We were standing outside smoking and I looked up as I often do since I love the night sky. I saw a small pinpoint of light moving that looked like a plane at first. Then it began to move erratically from side to side. My co-worker then noticed another dimmer light directly next to the first one. These two moved in unison across the sky at the speed of a high plane.

As I'm saying "WTF is that!?!" She recalls seeing on the news that this meteor shower might be visible right now. Each time I look down to say something to her, the two lights move back to their original spot and begin moving across the sky again. It was very bizarre. We watched until cloud cover made it impossible to see. One of the lights was visible on the bottom side of the clouds a few times.

I'm posting this experience because it doesn't fit the bill of photos and other accounts I have seen and read about meteor showers. Please let me know if you have more experience on the subject.

[edit on 19-7-2010 by glitchinthematrix]




posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by glitchinthematrix
I'm posting this experience because it doesn't fit the bill of photos and other accounts I have seen and read about meteor showers. Please let me know if you have more experience on the subject.
I agree, it doesn't sound like a meteor.

That reminds me of the observations of meteor showers made by Trouvelot. He was a very detailed observer and recorded what he saw to the best of his ability. Here is one of his meteor shower drawings:

http://www.blog.designsquish.com/index.php?/site/C26/

His drawing shows most of the meteors as nice smooth streaks, but not all. Some of the motions are irregular. Some of these could be observing errors, but not necessarily.

It the meteor is in a trajectory coming straight at you, more or less, it may not appear to move too much, but since it's vaporizing, it's possible that something like a non-uniform composition could cause some aberrations in the flight path.

However the effect you describe of the objects moving across the sky and then returning back to their original spot when you looked back up sound like autokinesis


The autokinetic effect (also referred to as autokinesis) is a phenomenon of human visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move.


That would explain why it went back to its original position after appearing to move. So based on your description of the object moving but returning back to its original position, autokinesis seems most consistent with that description.

One question, what was the total length of the sighting? Meteor sightings can vary in duration but they have an upper time limit for how long they can last.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 11:45 AM
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Thanks for your response!!! I've just been puzzled by what I saw and had considered re-posting that portion under a different title to get more information, but I didn't really want to create duplicate information. Anyway.....


Originally posted by Arbitrageur
Some of the motions are irregular. Some of these could be observing errors, but not necessarily.

It the meteor is in a trajectory coming straight at you, more or less, it may not appear to move too much, but since it's vaporizing, it's possible that something like a non-uniform composition could cause some aberrations in the flight path.


I had not considered that if this were the meteor shower, I may be at an odd vantage point. I do believe it is best viewed more north of here, so it is definitely something to consider that the angle of my view was quite odd.



Originally posted by Arbitrageur
However the effect you describe of the objects moving across the sky and then returning back to their original spot when you looked back up sound like autokinesis


Very interesting. Thanks for making this information convenient for a quick read. I am not closed off to any explanation of what I saw, but I have never in my life experienced autokinesis when sky gazing before. That is not to say there isn't a first time for everything, but my co-worker saw the exact same thing that I did exactly as I described.

Also, the environment is anything but "featureless" as my office is in a downtown location amongst various buildings, trees, and skyscrapers. Just some additional information.



Originally posted by Arbitrageur
One question, what was the total length of the sighting? Meteor sightings can vary in duration but they have an upper time limit for how long they can last.


The length of the sighting was approximately the time it takes to smoke a standard cigarette. I stepped out and looked up right after I lit up. I saw the moving point of light immediately. It was my co-worker who spotted the second dimmer light mirroring the first. I watched until I finished my cigarette and the clouds were moving into the area (low-ish wispy clouds that reflected a orangish-pink light from the city). I'd say 5-6 minutes.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by glitchinthematrix
Thanks for your response!!!

The length of the sighting was approximately the time it takes to smoke a standard cigarette. .. I'd say 5-6 minutes.

You're welcome.

You already thought it wasn't a meteor, but the 5-6 minutes seems to confirm that, it's too long for a meteor sighting.

Well if it's not autokinesis, then what kind of object can appear to move, then when you look back up, jump back to its original position? I don't know of any natural object that has a motion like that. But yes I did think it odd that you and the other person would see the same autokinetic effect, I'd expect it to be more individualized.

Next time it happens grab some video with your cell phone perhaps? Though I think the resolution on my cell phone probably isn't good enough to pick up tiny, distant lights.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by glitchinthematrix
I had not considered that if this were the meteor shower, I may be at an odd vantage point. I do believe it is best viewed more north of here, so it is definitely something to consider that the angle of my view was quite odd.
It's not just your vantage point, it's also the trajectory of the meteor. Here's a photo to demonstrate what I'm talking about:

www.amsmeteors.org...


Look at the center of the image from top to bottom. Now look toward the left, about 1/6 from the left side and 5/6 from the right side. See how all the meteors seem to originate from that point? That point is called the "radiant", the point in space the meteors appear to come from. You can look up a constellation map and find the radiant for each meteor shower relative to the constellations to help you find it.

All these meteors were photographed from the same vantage point, but the trajectories are different. So some of the meteors that had short streaks on the left don't seem to move very far, because they are coming almost straight at the observer. the longer streaks to the right aren't coming straight at the observer.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Thanks again for the information you have provided. I can't rule out the meteor shower, so I think I'm just gonna write this off as such. It becomes more apparent to me everyday that I seriously need to invest in a camera. My cell phone would never pick up the tiny dots of light that I saw. I am thinking about drawing some diagrams in Photoshop for fun, and if I do that, I'll add them to this thread. You input on this has been much appreciated.



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 01:39 PM
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I created some quick and dirty diagrams in Photoshop to hopefully give a better understanding of what I saw since I don't have a camera that would pick it up right now.

This first diagrams shows the following:



  1. The red "X" indicates where my co-worker and I were standing
  2. The green arrow indicates the trajectory of the anomaly from the ground
  3. The surrounding area is dominated on all four sides by the labeled structures





This second diagram shows a rough depiction of what I saw in the sky. The green dots show the moving "lights". The top-most "light" was the size, shape, color, and brightness of a star. The lower "light" mirrored the other in size, shape, and movement except it was about 50% less bright.

The green line indicates the movement the anomaly took across the sky. It did not move faster than a high-level plane might fly. It seemed to move slightly faster (maybe 30%) when making the side to side movements.



I'm sorry this is the best I can do. I wish I had video, but they were so tiny, I don't own a camera that would pick them up. I'll have to work on that.


Thanks for reading.

[edit on 20-7-2010 by glitchinthematrix]

[edit on 20-7-2010 by glitchinthematrix]

[edit on 20-7-2010 by glitchinthematrix]

[edit on 20-7-2010 by glitchinthematrix]



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by glitchinthematrix
This first diagrams shows the following:


OK you have me intrigued, and I'm not sure why you apologized for your artwork, you're a competent artist, for the purpose of what you were trying to communicate, I'd say it's pretty good.

So I hope you don't mind if I ask some questions. I'm not sure how much of this information will help but in case it might, I'll ask. Don't post anything to personally identify yourself, but what was the general location like city/state/country? Or approx latitude/longitude?

Is that diagram using the top=North convention? If not, which direction on the diagram is North?

Date of sighting? and local time?


The green line indicates the movement the anomaly took across the sky. It did not move faster than a high-level plane might fly. It seemed to move slightly faster (maybe 30%) when making the side to side movements.
OK it made this trek across the sky how many times in the 5-6 minutes you observed it? 3? 4?

Is the direction of the object generally East? And did you ever actually see it jump back to its original starting point on the left, or it only did that when you looked down or away?

Other than the brightness difference you mentioned between the 2 objects, did the brightness of either object vary at all as they traveled? Any flashing, twinkling or other variation? Were they white lights? Any color variation?

[edit on 20-7-2010 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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Thanks for your kind words. I dabble in art here and there.


Your questions are not a problem at all.

Location: Central North Carolina

Latitude/Longitude and directional information courtesy of Google Earth.

*sidenote* I shoulda just labeled a screen shot from GE for my first diagram, but whatever, I had fun making it.


Exact Lat. Long.: 36° 5'49.50"N 80°15'8.90"W

NORTH is the "My Office" side of Diagram 1. I was standing with my back to the building, so the anomaly moved NORTHEAST to SOUTHWEST across the sky.

I never saw the "lights" jump back. They did this only when I looked at my co-worker to comment. The jump back happened between 4 and 6 times. There were a couple times we stepped back beneath the awning because we didn't know what we were seeing and we didn't want "it" to see us. LOL

Their brightness was constant. They never pulsated or twinkled. As I said in my OP, the brighter one was visible under the clouds a couple times as they started to come in, but I could not see the other one.

I hope this helps!



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:24 AM
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reply to post by glitchinthematrix
 
OK thanks for answering my questions though you forgot the date/time question so I just entered July 18 at 2am into Heaven's above.com and got this sky map:

www.heavens-above.com...

You can tweak the time/date if that's not right, but the radiant for the Perseids would in fact be the Northeast, so this would be consistent with the direction you gave for the lights as coming from the Northeast.

I'm not quite sure what you saw, nothing I know of fits your description perfectly. The fact that you never saw the lights jump back would point to autokinesis, but your coworker seeing the same thing suggests maybe it's not that.

Another possibility is, could you have actually seen 4-6 meteors, if each time it "jumped back" it was actually a new meteor? This is possible because the radiant or point of origin would be the same each time. Was the intensity of the light exactly the same every time it jumped back? If they were different meteors I might expect different intensities. I'm not sure, just speculating.

Regarding the 2nd light, if it exactly matched the motion of the first but was dimmer, it may have been some kind of atmospheric reflection of the first light, but this would take several inversion layers so that would be very unusual.

Your sighting is very unusual to say the least.



posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 02:01 PM
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Ah, sorry...it was between 12 and 1am, so you weren't far off. Based on the information you have provided, I'm thinking it was just the meteor shower and the conditions were just such that my sighting was unusual. Thank you very much for all the help because I was very curious about what I saw, and all of the information you've provided makes it a little clearer.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 07:12 PM
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Here are a few pics I found from the perseid meteor shower.

The first pic was taken in Walker County,Ga.



And here is a couple of pics that shows a meteor passing jupiter.





If you want more info on the Perseid shower go to

spaceweather.com...

There is more info on the shower. I apologize if you have already seen these pics. If you havent then enjoy and keep looking up.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 07:19 PM
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Here is something else I found interesting that space weather has. Have you ever wanted to hear what a meteor sounds like then you should check tis out.

spaceweatherradio.com...

I just thought this was interesting that there is a place on their site that you can hear meteor echoes. You learn new things everyday. Not sure if anyone has posted this yet, but if it is posted disregard this post.



posted on Aug, 17 2010 @ 09:22 AM
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reply to post by tsurfer2000h
 


Very cool. Thank you for contributing to the thread. I'm sorry it took me a few days to notice your posts. I enjoyed the pictures and links you posted.



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