Friends & I saw a zig-zagging star

  1. I was sitting with friends on the street, and we saw what appeared to be a star that was zigzagging. Of course, it wasn't a star. The zig-zagging wasn't in straight lines or anything, it was just moving, faster than any plane, it was very far away (just appeared as a pinpoint of light), and wasn't moving in a straight line. It moved across perhaps 1/3 of the visible skyline in a few minutes. We weren't drinking or on any drugs.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    If it was last night, it was a meteor.
     
  4. Yup, there are many of possible explanations for why some meteors appear to travel in a jagged or zigzag path. Most likely it's because it was travelling in a spiral or the meteor path split up, remember we only have one point of view down here of the incoming object.

    Do you by any chance live in North/central USA... or around there? There was a pretty spectacular midair explosion last night from a meteor which had broken apart, maybe you didn't see the explosion for some reason but instead saw one of the pieces which broke off, or maybe you saw the original meteor tumbling?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  5. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've never heard of a meteor taking several minutes to cross the sky. Also, our friend here seems to be in the wrong location to have seen the meteor reported last night.
     
  6. Could have been the clouds moving around it. Clouds can make stars appear to move in sporadic patterns. When you look at venus at night, and the clouds are whipping by, it makes it look like it is moving around.
     
  7. Few years ago. Since this is the case, my memory of the actual visual image in my mind is no longer like a movie. What I do remember is being with 3 friends, looking at a star-like light dot in the sky not moving linearly, having sporadic motion, seemingly without regard to inertia (i.e. it wouldn't stop then go another direction, it would just be going in different directions). We were starting at it constantly for the time we were observing it (perhaps 10 minutes) - so it's not like we stopping looking then looked up and went "oh hey it moved from where it was".

    I do not see how clouds could've produced the illusion, but who knows.

    It did not seem to be controlled intelligently based on our knowledge of the various reasons of why crafts would change direction, but I cannot think of any alternative explanation. Although, even if it was an alien spacecraft, I see no reason why it would be emitting photons, unless it had something to do with a byproduct of their propulsion system. Then again, it seems strange, if it was an alien spacecraft, why it would have been travelling so slowly (if it could reach earth you'd expect something much more competent)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  8. Could have be high altitude and grazing our atmosphere, or it could have been large and slow moving (hence the tumbling).

    How do you know that? He could have seen debris in the sky from many places... he could have even seen the original meteor prior to the fireball it created.
     
  9. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

  10. Ohhh, I've seen these before. One time driving to New Brunswick on the TransCanada high way I looked out the car and saw a little speck of light moving around quite rapidly. It was day time mind you, couldn't have been a plane it changed directions too quickly and it would had to have been WAY too high (it only looked like a dot of light). I recall looking up an explanation and finding one but I can't seem to recall what it was exacty lol.
     
  11. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Staff members can determine the location of a poster. In fact he was on the wrong side of the planet.
     
  12. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    khz, perhaps you could share your location and the [local] time that you saw this?
     
  13. 3.5-4 years ago, Sydney, Australia. I cannot specify a date: even so, it's unlikely to be corroborated from other sources, this sighting required you to be actually staring at the night sky, it was very covert, but at the same time it wasn't hallucinatory as those who I was with saw it as well.
     
  14. You could have just said you did an IP trace, kind of creeeeepy.
     
  15. Was it plausible? Did it require staring at the sun?
     
  16. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    PF has satellites, drones and agents EVERYWHERE, mauahahaha
     
  17. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    khz, also, it would be helpful to know the direction of travel.
     
  18. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most likely, it seems to me, it was a satellite that appeared to be zigzagging due to the ideomotor effect.

    Was the zigzagging subtle, or was the motion distinctive?
     
  19. I was going to suggest "Scheerer's phenomenon" but can't be it if multiple people saw it, as well you were looking at the night sky which was presumably dark. So that rules that out... unless you were all having the phenomenon happen at the same time :tongue:
    Maybe it was a satellite... I'm pretty sure there's an phenomena associated with a 'zigzag' appearance of satellites.

    EDIT: ++Ivan beat me to it and he got the name of the effect.
     
  20. Yeah, it was plausible, in fact you can see it yourself. I had forgot the name but in my last post here I referred to it: 'Scheerer's phenomenon'.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_field_entoptic_phenomenon

    It doesn't fit what you've described though I am quite certain what you saw was a satellite.

    If you want to see the dot(s) I am talking about just look up at the day time sky :smile:. You might see many, I recall just seeing one but it's most likely just because I was focusing only on that particular cell, kinda creeped me out at the time.
     
  21. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,539
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    True. Greg, you just spilled some coffee on your shirt.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?