Friends & I saw a zig-zagging star

  • Thread starter khz
  • Start date

khz

16
0
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.
 

Evo

Mentor
22,463
2,278
If it was last night, it was a meteor.
 
24
2
If it was last night, it was a meteor.
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:

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172
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.
 
2
1
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.
 

khz

16
0
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:
24
2
I've never heard of a meteor taking several minutes to cross the sky.
Could have be high altitude and grazing our atmosphere, or it could have been large and slow moving (hence the tumbling).

Also, our friend here seems to be in the wrong location to have seen the meteor reported last night.
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.
 
24
2
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.
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.
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172
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.
Staff members can determine the location of a poster. In fact he was on the wrong side of the planet.
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172
khz, perhaps you could share your location and the [local] time that you saw this?
 

khz

16
0
khz, perhaps you could share your location and the [local] time that you saw this?
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.
 
24
2
Staff members can determine the location of a poster. In fact he was on the wrong side of the planet.
You could have just said you did an IP trace, kind of creeeeepy.
 

khz

16
0
I recall looking up an explanation and finding one but I can't seem to recall what it was exacty lol.
Was it plausible? Did it require staring at the sun?
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172
khz, also, it would be helpful to know the direction of travel.
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172
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.
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?
 
24
2
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.
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.
 
24
2
Was it plausible? Did it require staring at the sun?
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.
 

Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
6,744
172

Want to reply to this thread?

"Friends & I saw a zig-zagging star" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Top Threads

Top