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SiNNiK

I saw something years ago...

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I joined this group in an effort to better understand what it may have been that I saw.

Is this the correct forum to describe the event?

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Ok, 20 something years ago, I saw something fly across the sky. It didn't go from horizon to horizon but it left a trail that stretched across about 75% of the night sky.

I'm 51 years old and have seen my share of satellites and flying craft to know this wasn't either of those, it took a fraction of a second to travel from one side of the sky to the other.  I was looking right where it happened and I still didn't get a look at it.

It left behind a thin silvery trail that remained for about 5 whole seconds, then slowly dissolved in the direction the object had traveled.

My questions are how can I estimate the object's speed and what might it have been?

Thanks.

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Most likely a meteor burning up as it crashed through the earth’s atmoshere. I too have seen a similar kind of trail left behind by one that took a few seconds to dissipate. Speeds vary from between 25,000 to 160,000 mph, so they do move pretty quickly across the whole sky.

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Hi,

It will have been a meteor. We see lots of them, hundreds a year, but only a fraction leave the trail behind, which is usually greyish in appearance, but I have seen green trails too.

As for speed, it will have been in the 1000's of km per hour.

If you know what time of year it was, and the rough direction, you might be able to pin it on one of the regular meteor showers, otherwise we call the random ones "sporadic".

Keep looking up, you'll see many more :)

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Agreed, sounds like a nice bright meteor and the resultant smoke trail. The alternative is that it could have been a piece of space junk burning up.

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+1 for meteor.  I suspect that space junk would have taken more than a fraction of a second to travel that distance. 

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Thanks y'all, if indeed it was a meteor I think it must have bounced off our atmosphere because the left end of the trail (exit) looked the same as the right end. It was traveling in a Northern direction. And traveling at that speed it might have escaped the Milky Way after 20+ years.

I don't recall what month it happened, but I'm inclined to say November-ish. I had always felt that maybe I had witnessed a planet killer that barely missed us, and no one saw it but me.

Thanks for the info.

:)

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8 minutes ago, SiNNiK said:

Thanks y'all, if indeed it was a meteor I think it must have bounced off our atmosphere because the left end of the trail (exit) looked the same as the right end. It was traveling in a Northern direction. And traveling at that speed it might have escaped the Milky Way after 20+ years.

I don't recall what month it happened, but I'm inclined to say November-ish. I had always felt that maybe I had witnessed a planet killer that barely missed us, and no one saw it but me.

Thanks for the info.

:)

Plenty of trails look the same either end, it is only really the ones that break up or even explode that are different.

What you saw was most likely a fairly small object, probably grain of sand sized, maximum pea sized; it is the sheer speed that gives them so much energy. If it had been a planet killer then we would all have known about it......or not!

It burned up in the atmosphere though, and would, I guess, have lost alot of speed even if it escaped again. Regardless, even at those speeds it would still be within our solar system. The Voyager probes have been travelling at tens of thousands of miles an hour for 40 years and are still just at the edge of the solar system. To cross the Milky Way even at light speed takes hundreds of thousands of years.

Welcome to the forum :)

 

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November could be  a Leonid. 1999 was the last peak year for them, but a year or two either side was not bad.

The Milky Way is much MUCH bigger than that. The number of stars within 20 light years is relatively (very) small. The MW is about 100,000 light years across.

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You've given a great description of a large meteor, that may have been bright enough to count as a 'fireball' (that means it has to be as bright as Venus, which is hard to judge as Venus always appears near the sun, and we uisually see meteors well away from it!)

Your description of the trail is good, I managed to photograph a shorter one a few years ago while trying to photograph Perseid metors.

The Perseids peak round about the 11 or 12 August, so if you want to see plenty of meteors (probably one every few minutes, maybe more) go out late on one of those evening s and look up. There's a chance you might see another big one.

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SiNNiK

First of all welcome from land down under

With respect to your query, most likely a meteorite

Download the APP Meteorite Shower Calendar, and  gives predictions of annual meteorite shows

Most are associated with tails of comets

John

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I completely agree with it being a meteor. Most are very small (about the size of a grain of sand) and dont leave trails. Bigger ones will often leave a trail

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