Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mystery object spotted in skies over Portland. Another Fireball?

via KOMO News
By Shannon L. Cheesman, Producer/Reporter

 CLACKAMAS, Ore. - A strange, fiery sight spotted in the skies over the Willamette Valley Wednesday morning may have been a meteor. Or an optical illusion.

Jim Todd, Planetarium Manager at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry tells KATU-TV he is pretty confident that it was a fireball caused by a meteor. And he's quite certain it didn't come from Comet ISON, which is making its way toward the sun on a path and proximity that has some experts believing it might end up as one of the more spectacular comets in a long time.

However, experts from the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University say it could merely have been a trick of the sunlight. Others have agreed, suggesting it was a jet contrail that reflected in the morning sunlight.

A number of residents snapped photos of the scene, and KATU Photojournalist Mike Warner also took a short video of the trail while he was flying in their station's helicopter.  He said he and the helicopter pilot were over Interstate 205 at the Clackamas Town Center between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. and spotted the odd sight while looking east.

According to U.S. Strategic Command, no man-made objects reentered the atmosphere in our area on Wednesday, which excluded the possibility that some space junk fell to earth.

Slaade's note: I have to admit, I almost spit coffee out of my nose after reading the "trick of light" "contrail" comment. Really????


  1. You wrote "I have to admit, I almost spit coffee out of my nose after reading the "trick of light" "contrail" comment. Really????2

    Why? That is exactly what it is? Sunlit contrails have been fooling skywatchers for years. See the following time-lapse video and note how this 'fireball' is simply the remnants of an aircraft contrail being partially lit before full sunrise.

    Video title

    'Fire ball' mystery solved

    The helicopter cameraman revealed that the video footage was from 0624 PST. That is the key to this mystery. The 'fireball' images are from much later and just before full sunrise at 0717. You can see the times on the photo gallery comments. 0710 and 0715 are some of the times recorded. What the ground observers were watching was the remnants of aircraft contrails south of Mount Hood being partially lit by the rising sun.

    See following link. This is the Flight Radar 24 playback for that morning. It covers from 0600 PST (1400 GMT) to cover the flights that left Portland International and flew south of Mount Hood. The airliners will climb out and pass through 26,000 feet upwards south of Mount Hood and produce contrails if the conditions are favourable. Continue watching the playback and note the flight activity when those 'fireball' images were shot? Those aircraft would be flying through the region that this 'fireball' was allegedly witnessed. All the aircrew in the region would be reporting such an event in a busy flight region.,-121.9/10

    Come across to Metabunk and debate it?

  2. A plane contrail with a bright firey object at the tip on a declining trajectory? I don't buy it. It also occured on the very day NASA confirmed 47 fireballs during the Leonids meteor shower.

    1. Bright fiery object = plane lit up by sun.
      Declining trajectory = heading away from camera.