A Conversation for Meteors, Meteorites and Meteor Showers

Unusual Meteor Observations:

Post 1


1. The Perseid maximum of 1967:

I was living at the time in on post housing at Camp Pendleton, the USMC base in southern California, near Oceanside CA. The word went out that a meteor shower was expected that night and all the kids on the block turned out with blankets on the common back lawn. During the height of the display we were seeing more than a meteor per second. An exceptional display due to the Earth passing through the thickest part of the Perseid swarm, a periodic recurrence.

2. The Leonids of 2002:

I'd been asked to supervise a group of kids on observations of the Perseid display. This particuler display was a little disappointing in that despite a somewhat elevated count of high mesospheric nucleated boloids, there were almost no conventional streaks of the most common kind.
However, there were three incidents of very unusual type, where the sky would momentarily brighten over a discreet region without any accompanying meteoric streaks, either an elliptical patch, or what appeared to be a wave of light moving across the sky, as though a galaxy shaped cloud of extraordinaly fine particles was impacting the atmosphere obliquely and almost perpindicularly. Particle sizes to produce the effect must have been extraordinarliy fine, well below the 10,000th inch threshold characteristic of erosional dust as the finest particle typically observed, perhaps free nanodiamonds or buckyballs and in such numbers that had they been typically sized the flare would have been brighter than daylight.

3. Largest Meteor I've Observed:

1970, in company with friends, I saw a very large low stratospheric boloid, perhaps 4 degrees across, pretty easily around twice the apparent diameter of the Moon. It was irregularly shaped, glowing barbecue pit red and visibly tumbling. I hazarded a guess at its probale distance, remarking that it was probably hundreds of miles away. One of my friends reported the incident to one of our high school teachers and reported back to me that he'd said I ought to know better than that. On reconsideration I had to agree that it couldn't have been much more than 20 miles in altitude when it winked out, though there was no way of getting a reliable fix on horizontal distance except if there were a second remote observation available allowing a triangulation.

4. Unusual Meteoric Effect:

Driving one night though the downtown district of of a small town at about 10:00 PM I saw an exceptionally brilliant meteor flash by though the windshield of my vehicle. It was a typical non-nucleated meteor, travelling at about twice the speed of typical meteors, glowing violet hot with the heat of its passage through the atmosphere. A meteor with a velocity high to produce the effect cannot be an asteroidal or comet derived meteor, since the velocity is markedly greater than any possible orbital velocity around the sun, but must have an extra-solar origin. This was the only meteor of the character I've ever seen.

5. Another Unusual Meteoric Effect:

I was laying flat on my back watching another round of the Perseids, 1979, with a hill to my back blocking nearby city lights. Looking straight up I saw a point of light brighten and fade in magnitude and time like one would expect of a conventional meteor of the most common kind. Reckoning that it might be due to an unusual presentation, coming straight at me in my line of sight that it was probably no larger than a small grain of sand and probably burned up completely, I continued laying still, watching the display. A few moments later I felt something impact me in the middle of the torso, directly over the heart. It felt like a smoke ring, about five inches in diameter with a cross section like about half an inch, impacting with just enough force to allow me to feel it through the light windbreaker I was wearing. Meteors impacting the atmosphere will make annular solitons* and they can be very persistent.

6. An Artificial Meteoric Incident:

Following the fall of Skylab, I was in a remote location of the Colorado Desert, watching the display, seeing large numbers of distinctive orangey-green meteors which were otherwise like typical meteors except that rather than coming to a point and winking out, instead they would brighten to a maximum and then fade with a double ended fantail. E.G. they were skipping off of the atmosphere.

7. Another Artificial Meteoric Incident:

An incident of the early 1980s, observation from a parking lot in front of a supermarket in a downtown district. I saw a brilliant low atmosphere boloid that first flashed blue, then green, leaving finally a tumbling red-orange object. I would surmise that this was some kind of a satellite reentering the atmosphere at too steep an angle, the blue due to volatilization of a titatium heat sheild (titanium makes blue sparks on an industrial grinding wheel), the green that followed due to copper components boling away, the concluding red-orange representing red heat of the remaining components.

Unusual Meteor Observations:

Post 2


Posting to move this over to Brunel, since tbe machine lost my copy on Pliny when I attempted to preview.

I think the (frequently recurring) bug may be a timeout problem, the machine registering composition in the composition box as inactivity.

Unusual Meteor Observations:

Post 3


12 Aug 2014, ~9:10pm PDT.

Sky cloudy, persistent heat lightning to the north of the Orocopia Mountains.

Though the moon is readily visible through the cloud canopy, only a handful of the brightest 1st magnitude stars are visible.

Satellite weather shows a stationary cloud canopy covering the entire valley.

Forecast shows cloud cover breaking up into partly cloudy conditions after two am, clouds not dissipating completely till mid morning on the 13th.

I doubt I'll see any meteors tonight.

Error to report, item 2 above, as I recall I was extremely sleepy when I wrote that.

That should have been a reference to the December 13-14 Geminids, having nothing to do with the Perseids or Leonids.

The Geminids are thought, unlike most meteor showers, to have asteroidal rather than cometary origins, accounting for their lower reentry velocities and chacteristic yellow-hot reentry trails, as distinct from the typical blue-white reentry trails of most cometary meteors.smiley - blushsmiley - loveblush

Looking over the remainder of the posting above I don't see anything seriously wrong beyond typos of the ordinary kind, though there are a lot of them.

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