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Meteor changing direction last night?


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About 23:20 a meteor started off near Gemini, moved across the sky East to West until low in the sky near Andromeda and then abruptly just pinged off 90 degrees and went North towards where Cygnus was setting near the horizon. I'd never seen anything this before though a bit of Googling throws up that this phenomenon has been observed before. Just wondered if anyone else had seen this tonight, it was very striking?

Edited by GazOC
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Maybe Santa on a test flight?

Bizarre indeed! My best guess would be some sort of explosive fragmentation. Even if I did believe in alien visitors, it's hard to think of a reason why their spacecraft would pull off pointless 90deg

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But turned 90 degrees during its trajectory? Sounds like a :alien: craft to me, and meteors don't do that :eek:

lol

Definitely an :alien: craft!!

To see a meteor it already has to in the atmosphere (you don't see them until they are), and to make a 90 deg turn AFTER entering the atmosphere means it can't be anything but little green men ;)

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Very odd Gaz, never seen anything like that myself.

I know that you are a very experienced observer so have no trouble at all in believing what you saw, but I can offer no explanation whatsoever.

Maybe the object had a small chemical reaction as it burnt away and that caused a sudden sideways shift, but 90 degrees is hard to explain...?

Ant

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Santa on a test flight Huhuh :)

Aside from alien spacecraft and exploding meteors I might posit an unlikely but possible explanation. Could it be that you saw two shooting stars that just happened to appear in the same point in the sky... One going in one direction and then, just as that one burnt up as second along the exact same line of sight but travelling in different trajectory which, from your perspective, appeared to be at right angles. One hell of a coincidence but not beyond the bounds of posibility :icon_confused:

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Cheers Ant, I was taking a quick break from observing and followed it right the way across its flight, it wasn't a "corner of the eye" view. One thing I'm trying to figure out is, does a 90 degree change in direction from my point of view actually mean the meteor had to have moved the same angle in flight? Or could it have been a shallower angle that seemed 90 degrees to me because i had no way of accurately judging the distance and/ or speed change when the object was defelected?

Either that or space aliens/ Santa it would seem...I don't believe in either though. :smiley:

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Bizarre indeed! My best guess would be some sort of explosive fragmentation.

Even if I did believe in alien visitors, it's hard to think of a reason why their spacecraft would pull off pointless 90degree maneuvers. Maybe Earth is the galactic McDonalds car park where aliens show off their vehicles to each other ;)

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Bizarre indeed! My best guess would be some sort of explosive fragmentation.

Even if I did believe in alien visitors, it's hard to think of a reason why their spacecraft would pull off pointless 90degree maneuvers. Maybe Earth is the galactic McDonalds car park where aliens show off their vehicles to each other ;)

lol interesting thought, maybe after they have done their chores of mashing potato they head off to exhibit their doughnuts!

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Bizarre indeed! My best guess would be some sort of explosive fragmentation......

That would be my explanation too. Meteors frequently fragment as they come through the atmosphere and sometimes that is an explosive event. The stresses on a fragment of rock as it's outer layer is heated almost to melting point by friction while it's interior remains extremely cold must be considerable and it all happens within a matter of seconds.

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That would be my explanation too. Meteors frequently fragment as they come through the atmosphere and sometimes that is an explosive event. The stresses on a fragment of rock as it's outer layer is heated almost to melting point by friction while it's interior remains extremely cold must be considerable and it all happens within a matter of seconds.

I could be wrong and will wait to stand corrected by someone who is a wiz with the maths, but i just dont think this can account for a 90 degree change in direction. Given the momentum of the body no matter how vigorous the explosion it would not result in a total 90 degree path being taken. There is quite a famous Nasa piece of footage of an object that appears to enter our atmosphere before suddenly changing direction and heading off at speed at 90 degrees (sure someone will find a link to it). All the expoerts although unable to explain the object all rule out a metoer on the grounds that it is technically impossible for them to change direction so dramatica\lly in flight. I have no idea what GazOC saw but really cant imagine it was a meteor changing direction 90 degrees.

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Blackheart and Earl - Though a very remote possibility, I would say this is the only answer, since during most of the year there are several major and minor showers (with different radiants) that overlap and perhaps this was the answer that I even failed to come up with :grin:

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I saw a similar event some years ago. Very bright, fast and suddenly went off at a complete tangent. Looked odd at the time and I still occasionally think about it. Never seen it since.

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