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NEW!!: Mystery Meteor Flashes Across British Skies

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posted on Mar, 4 2012 @ 10:55 PM
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Originally posted by TruthxIsxInxThexMist
reply to post by chemistry
 


I just saw the video on skynews and i just wanna know why the light comes on and off?

Is it passing through clouds?

Or is that what usually happens with a Meteorite?


Meteors very rarely stay a constant brightness. Especially with large ones, bits break off at times, making the meteor flicker. Meteors are luminous at much higher altitudes than clouds are in the atmosphere, but passing behind patches of thin/hazy cloud could also have the same effect.



Originally posted by TruthxIsxInxThexMist
I thought it would stay bright on fire until it hit the ground!


Exactly the opposite is in fact true.

Most meteors completely vaporise or disintergrate high up in the atmosphere. Even fairly "large" ones like this start to slow quickly when they hit the lower atmosphere where the air is much denser (around 50 km altitude), to the point at which they no longer move fast enough to be self-luminous.

The meteorites that are collected from the ground after a fall, nearly always fall unseen, in all but the truly exceptional cases.


How fast are meteorites traveling when they reach the ground?

Meteoroids enter the earth’s atmosphere at very high speeds, ranging from 11 km/sec to 72 km/sec (25,000 mph to 160,000 mph). However, similar to firing a bullet into water, the meteoroid will rapidly decelerate as it penetrates into increasingly denser portions of the atmosphere. This is especially true in the lower layers, since 90 % of the earth’s atmospheric mass lies below 12 km (7 miles / 39,000 ft) of height.

At the same time, the meteoroid will also rapidly lose mass due to ablation. In this process, the outer layer of the meteoroid is continuously vaporized and stripped away due to high speed collision with air molecules. Particles from dust size to a few kilograms mass are usually completely consumed in the atmosphere.

Due to atmospheric drag, most meteorites, ranging from a few kilograms up to about 8 tons (7,000 kg), will lose all of their cosmic velocity while still several miles up. At that point, called the retardation point, the meteorite begins to accelerate again, under the influence of the Earth’s gravity, at the familiar 9.8 meters per second squared. The meteorite then quickly reaches its terminal velocity of 200 to 400 miles per hour (90 to 180 meters per second). The terminal velocity occurs at the point where the acceleration due to gravity is exactly offset by the deceleration due to atmospheric drag.

American Meteor Society Fireball FAQs



Originally posted by TruthxIsxInxThexMist
Could it have been something else?


It's possible, but not likely - it looked like a meteor, and acted like a meteor. Why should it not be a meteor?



Originally posted by TruthxIsxInxThexMist
Here is a comment from skynews website from someone who was in the area:

Well I can safely say it was no lump of rock. Where we were, we saw it land, and there were already army personnel in the area. When I left at 6 am this morning, the landing spot was cordoned off and several hundred personnel were ensuring we kept our distance. Those in government will no doubt cover it up with the flying rock story, but what we saw was metal, had openings, and wings, and definitely did not crash, it landed. Would be awesome to get the truth but what we will end up with is a British version of Roswell.



Reports like this can be discounted, since dozens of others reported seeing the meteor "burn out" high in the sky.

It's also not uncommon for people to report meteors that have "landed" close by, but as I said in this thread I posted some months back, there is overwhelming evidence that people consistently misjudge the actual distance and altitude in cases like this.




posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:30 AM
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reply to post by FireballStorm
 


You seem quite knowledgeable on the topic, in your view is it in any way possible that this meteor could have been the same one viewed over Victoria Australia last night? www.abovetopsecret.com... the news source claims its the same one, but I'm highly doubtful. My only theory on how it could be possible is if it had sort of skipped or bounced across the atmosphere over the UK, remaining (somehow...?) intact enough to be caught by gravity and flung to the other side of the globe?

I'm going along the lines of a shower of these and remain skeptical of the '1 meteor' possibility but would like your thoughts if you can please.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by christonabike
 


fair enough well put



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:22 PM
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Originally posted by alldaylong
There is something not quite right with this. The "Meteor" was sighted in Glasgow, Whitely Bay Tyne And Wear, Liverpool Merseyside, Birmingham West Midlands, South Wales, South Mimms, North London and Dorset amongst others. I have always believed that meteor's travel in a straight line. If those sighting locations are all correct, then the meteor zig-zaggged across the full length of the UK.


Just because it was seen in those places, does not mean it took a detour at every one of them.

If you read through the reports, they do not all say that they saw it pass directly overhead do they?

When a meteor first becomes visible in the atmosphere, it's usually at 100km + altitude, and they usually cease to be luminous no lower than 20 or 30km in the case of relitively large fireballs. At these kinds of altitudes, a big fireball can easily be visible for hundreds of km either side of its path, providing there is not a thick blanket of cloud obstrucing the view of potential observers on the ground.

Did you watch the footage of the event? There is no sign of any "zig-zagging" going on as far as I can tell. It looked just like a "normal" fireball to me, and the reports I have read (a few hundred) are consistent with it being a fireball.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by Anthony2
The thing that puzzles me most is what one of the other contributors mentioned - there seem to be a variety of directions they are going in (North to South, and South to North, roughly speaking).


The vast majority of reports I have read say North to South, but there are always a few that get it wrong/make a mistake. I would say that is normal, especially if the adrenalin is flowing.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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Originally posted by Qumulys
reply to post by FireballStorm
 


You seem quite knowledgeable on the topic, in your view is it in any way possible that this meteor could have been the same one viewed over Victoria Australia last night? www.abovetopsecret.com... the news source claims its the same one, but I'm highly doubtful.


Not a realistic chance that it was the same object IMO. Whilst a long lasting meteor could have a "ground path" stretching over hundreds of miles, after that it would either succumb to gravity/air resistance and fall to the ground, or if it was large enough to overcome those forces it would travel straight back out to space, with it's orbit slightly changed.

Australia is simply too far away for that theory to be plausible.

Also, the time difference between the sightings is way to great - 12hrs I think.

There is a chance that an asteroid could be captured by earth's gravity and end up in orbit around earth, which has occured in the past, but the chances of this being the case in this case are vanisingly small.

I think there is enough footage out there for a rough orbit to be calculated, so we will probably soon know either way.


Originally posted by Qumulys
My only theory on how it could be possible is if it had sort of skipped or bounced across the atmosphere over the UK, remaining (somehow...?) intact enough to be caught by gravity and flung to the other side of the globe?


It would have to have been captured by earths gravity (at least partially) to do this, as I mentioned above. Whist that is possible, the time difference does not seem to fit with this possibility, though I may be wrong...

It's simply much more likely that this was just another (probably unrelated) fireball class meteor. We are constantly bombarded by them, although the vast majority go un-noticed by people - many occur over unpopulated areas (2/3 of the earths surface is ocean to begin with, and out of what is left the vast majority of area is extremely sparcely populated), or during daylight when they would be hard to see, or are hidden by cloud cover, or because most people are tucked up in bed.

Every so often we get one (or two) that are seen by many people because they happen to occur over populated areas, at times when people are likely to be out and about, and it hits the news along with forums like this. Most people are surprised when they find out how often "big" fireballs (like these two) actually occur, but that is just nature for you (full of surprises!).



Originally posted by Qumulys
I'm going along the lines of a shower of these and remain skeptical of the '1 meteor' possibility but would like your thoughts if you can please.



Whist it's enevitable that some patches of space that earth travels through are going to be richer in large rocks than others, there is no evidence that fireball events like these are directly connected to a specific "shower" - for that they would have to share the same source (presumably an asteroid that broke up for whatever reason at some time in the past).

There is however some evidence that although some fireballs are not directly connected to a single source, that their sources (asteroids) are from the same source (the asteroid belt).

So techically, athough not a "shower" in the strictest sense of the word, you are not too far off in your thinking IMO.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 06:44 PM
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My father saw this in Fife around 9:30 and said it was that low he was convinced it must have went in to the sea.

Now my father is a manly man who does not does not use instruction manuals and the like and would not admit fear.. well that's what I thought until the day after this when he told me that he was genuinely in fear ' I nearly sh@t myself' is a direct quote.

Sadly I never seen this myself but the description of my Dads was similar to one already on here 'Brilliant white head with a fiery tail'



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 10:03 PM
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It was going North to south and flew DIRECTLY over my head in North east England, obviously with it being so high up it could have been a good distance either side of me. But my view from the ground it went directly over my head. It was also looked quite low and slow.

I will say though, if it was very high up then the thing must have bee HUUUGE.

Just another thing, I had an unobstructed view of the sky and it kind of just appeared there, in fact it looked like it had shot upwards at 1st because I thought it was a fire work. It didnt come into view over the top of roofs or anything. It just looked like it had came up from the ground then flew over my head. Would this be curvature of the earth stuff or what, or did I actually see it as it entered the atmosphere!!?



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 10:31 AM
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Ok well this meteorite has possibly been found in a place called Redcar.

Meteor discovered in Redcar

Now this town is about 20 minutes from where I seen the rock fly over head, so it must have been pretty low when I seen it I know it certainly looked low, but wasnt sure because its so hard to judge. Anyway lucky for these people because bonafide meteorites sell for tens of thousands!



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 10:43 PM
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Originally posted by Idonthaveabeard
It was going North to south and flew DIRECTLY over my head in North east England, obviously with it being so high up it could have been a good distance either side of me. But my view from the ground it went directly over my head.


It may well have flown directly overhead, or very close to it, but as you say, at those distances it's going to be quite a way's off if you are even slightly out. Estimating accurately where the "zeinith" (the imaginary point that is directly above your head in the sky) is actually quite a skill.



Originally posted by Idonthaveabeard
It was also looked quite low and slow.


Most shooting stars that you see are small bits of comet entering our atmosphere, and they are usually quite swift compared to asteroidal material, which is likely the source of the UK fireball. Some meteoroids/asteroids can impact the atmosphere at velocities ~3x slower (~10 km/s) than this one has been estimated to be going at.

Apples and oranges... what you saw was probably a relatively hard/dense lump of rock or metal capable of penetrating relatively deep into our atmosphere, compared with cometary material wich is usually so delicate that if a sizable piece of it hits the atmosphere it usually disintergrates very high above the ground.

Whilst meteors can seem much lower and closer than they actually are, in the vast majority of cases (and I'm in no doubt that this one can be included) it can be shown that this is an illusion, probably in part due to the brightness of the object, which can be astounding considering the distance the object is and it's actual size, and also in part to the curving nature of the earth/atmosphere as you suggested.

I've been looking into cases like this one for aproaching one and a half decades now, there are often reports like yours, which midguge the distance in cases where many people happen to see a bright fireball. I started a thread on the subject a few months back when I was using a different username here on ATS.



Originally posted by Idonthaveabeard
I will say though, if it was very high up then the thing must have bee HUUUGE.



It probably was not that big, relatively speaking of course. What can make a meteor seem big (and close) is it's brightness, but the brightness is mostly due to the speed of the meteor, estimated as I said before to be around 27 km/s. Whilst not the fastest meteor, it's still enough to give a spectacular show even if the object was not that big. I would tentitively estimate somewhere between the size of a large melon and a small van/large car before it hit the atmosphere.



Originally posted by Idonthaveabeard
Just another thing, I had an unobstructed view of the sky and it kind of just appeared there, in fact it looked like it had shot upwards at 1st because I thought it was a fire work. It didnt come into view over the top of roofs or anything. It just looked like it had came up from the ground then flew over my head. Would this be curvature of the earth stuff or what, or did I actually see it as it entered the atmosphere!!?


I explained in detail here as best as I could why some meteors do this. Basically its due to both the angle of entry of entry of the meteoroid/asteroid (very low in this case), and your perspective on the event ie. your location on the ground in relation to the trajectory of the fireball.

What you saw is what we in the meteor observing comunity term as an "earthgrazer" since the meteoroid is only skimming the atmosphere or entering it at a very low angle, and although fireball class earth grazers do sometimes occur, they are not easy to see. I was fortunate to see a couple some years back, but they were not quite in the brightness class that this one was.

Non fireball 'grazers are actually fairly easy to see if you know when to look and are determined to see them. If you search ATS, you will find lots of tips on when to look out for them.


Originally posted by Idonthaveabeard
Ok well this meteorite has possibly been found in a place called Redcar.

Now this town is about 20 minutes from where I seen the rock fly over head, so it must have been pretty low when I seen it I know it certainly looked low, but wasnt sure because its so hard to judge. Anyway lucky for these people because bonafide meteorites sell for tens of thousands!


Redcar seems a little too far north up the meteor's path for meteorites to me. I don't think its connected, and TBH I'm doubtfull at this point that anything will ever be recovered due to the unusually low angle of entry. It's being tested, so we should know soon either way.



posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 10:49 PM
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reply to post by BiggerPicture
 


Looks exactly like a meteor to me.

I seen an awesome fireball breaking apart several years ago.

Looks similar to me.



posted on Mar, 7 2012 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by djz3ro
 


No, that does sound very odd but it wasn't what I noticed. This is a steady circle of white light in the sky in the background - but as I say, not moon etc. I've seen it in a few other bits of footage of events as well.



posted on Apr, 8 2012 @ 06:40 PM
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For anyone who is interested, Alastair McBeath has posted a final analysis of this fireball here.

Here's a short extract:

Excluding duplicates, a total of 376 reports, including 15 videos or images of part of the trail, were probably of this event, stretching from Wick and the island of Lewis in northern Scotland to Somerset, Hampshire and Essex in southern England, with several sightings from northeast Wales. Of the 353 observers whose locations could be identified, 116 were in Scotland, 168 in northern England (north of roughly 53° N latitude, somewhat variable to allow for county boundaries), 9 in Wales, and 60 in southern England.


The analysis also confirms what we already knew:- that because of the low entry angle of the object, it's impossible to pinpoint where any remaining meteorites may have landed.

It's ironic that the low entry angle, which made this fireball such a spectacular and widely seen event, is also the reason why it's unlikely that we will find any meteorites related to this event.



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