Is a wavy path possible for a shooting star?

  • I was camping recently (May 2014), and observed several shooting stars (very fast, short lived), a few satellites (very slow, long lived) and lots of aircraft (flashing lights) in the night sky.

    All of the shooting stars appeared normal, as very fast streaks across the sky, which disappeared within a fraction of a second. All except one. One started fairly straight as normal, then took a completely unexpected wavy path (like releasing a balloon to fly around the room) towards the end of its flight. Then it winked out. What caused this?

    Note, I was completely sober at the time, the sky was clear, and I believe this could not have been an aircraft or satellite because of its tremendous speed. Apart from this 'meteor', there was nothing else in the sky which could be interpreted as a firework.

    Could this really have been a meteor, and what could have made it take this path? If not a meteor, what else could it have been?

    (Note: I have tagged this 'UFO' because I'm not sure I can identify this object, not because I think it's an alien space craft).

    @HopDavid - I saw that too, but there was no reasonable explanation for what I saw, only something about meteors bouncing back out, which would only be a single bend.

    You don't need to make that clarification, a UFO does not (in any way) make reference to alien space crafts, it clearly means **Unidentified** Flying Object. If you would think it was an alien spacecraft then you wouldn't be calling it a UFO.

    Did the wavy meteor also last only fractions of a second? I guess it could've fragmented and created a spray which just appeared wavy as each fragment got bright in turn, and you instinctively connected the dots to a wave during that fraction of a second.

    @LocalFluff - Perhaps. I can't say for sure that it wasn't that. But it certainly seemed like a single object moving in a wavy trajectory. The whole event lasted about as long as any other shooting star; less than a second.

    I've seen meteors which pulsate in brightness. Maybe that's related to wavyness.

    yes its surely possible because i saw this same thing last winter duringthe geminid showers...I have a hunch this might be because that particular meteor either broke up, causing instantaneous acceleration/deceleration due to fluctuation in air resistance on it!

    Was it slow? Really slow with a trail? I am searching for similar object with wavy path on horizon, but it was slow and took some time to disappear.

    I am not claiming this to be right, but maybe the meteor encountered strong wind currents on the higher layers of the atmosphere. Or maybe simply as density and temperature were changing, the meteor was deviated, in a similar way as light diffracts in different mediums. It seems the angle at which the meteor entered the atmosphere would play a major role.

    I'm pretty sure this comes from irregular meteor entering a spin (irregular geometry causing a turbine-like behavior propelling the spin) and as result, spewing its matter in circles along its trajectory.

    Meteors glow because they are superheated. It is not impossible that a spinning, superheated rock will offgas, resulting in a zig-zag. I've never seen this phenomenon personally, but it sounds credible.

    @HopDavid good link. Zig zag:I get it as similar to a stone jumping on a pound, or a kind of ballistic reenter...

    I do even have a photo but last time I tried I have been brutally censored :))

  • I saw a zig zag meteorite in Bukuru, Northern Nigeria, when I was about 13 in 1959. That started from small to increasing swings, then went out near the horizon. For many years I puzzled about this, but rarely mentioned it, because no one would believe it. Years later I attended an astronomy lecture at college in London. I cornered the astronomer with this sighting and he said we know what this is. A flat dish shaped meteorite enters the atmosphere shallowly & flies in a circular motion that gets wider as it approaches the earth then extinguishes. Seeing this from the horizon, it appears to zigzag down. He told me that I was very very lucky to witness this meteor show, and I am glad that others have seen it too. Adios, UFO folks.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution

Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM