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Thread: Strange meteor or debris trail

  1. #1 Strange meteor or debris trail 
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    Was out testing my camera on the stars last night to check for noise, quality etc.
    Could not really see the milky way because the air was really dusty and it was late and it was toward the west and city lights. I just took a couple of overhead shots and went home. When I opened the images, (about 8 one of them) had this in one of them. Bright object on end of trail is either Jupiter or Saturn.
    exposure was 15 seconds, ISO 1600.


    Was not a camera malfunction, not was it added in Photoshop. I have the RAW
    image.
    I kind of think it was something like a small pipe or sheet of aluminum which tumbled
    during reentry, causing erratic lighting, color and course. Bright object is Jupitor or Saturn.
    Any other ideas?

    Best Wishes
    Randy J


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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    What is the effective focal length? From this, you can calculate the length of the stripe. Assuming a distance of the possible object, you should be able to calculate a velocity. Does this give reasonable numbers?


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  4. #3 Focal length 
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    When shooting the stars I always focus by focusing on an object say 50 feet away.
    At wide open aperture 18 mm (i beleive that would about 23mm in 35mm), you get everything in focus from your 50 ft up to infinity. If you try focusing on infinity you will usually be out of focus.
    Randy J.
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  5. #4 Re: Focal length 
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    Quote Originally Posted by czydiamond
    When shooting the stars I always focus by focusing on an object say 50 feet away.
    At wide open aperture 18 mm (i beleive that would about 23mm in 35mm), you get everything in focus from your 50 ft up to infinity. If you try focusing on infinity you will usually be out of focus.
    Randy J.
    So, your lens told you that the focal length was 18 mm for a digital LSR camera? If the conversion to an analogue camera (f=23 mm) is correct, you get the following:

    fraction of the stripe length relative to the picture size: 1/28
    converted to 35 mm image: 1.25 mm
    ratio between focal length and image length: 18.4

    assuming object distance of 10 km => trail length: 543 m
    for an exposure time of 15 s, resulting velocity: 543m/15s=36.2 m/s=130 km/h

    This is much to small for a typical meteor. Could it have been a satellite, e.g. one of the famous iridium flares? Iridium satellites have an altitude of 780 km. If that's what you see, the velocity is 2.83 km/s. However, this does not fit to the quoted velocity of 7.5 km/s.

    Another explanation could be the trail is an afterimage of Jupiter/Saturn. Was your tracking always on? Maybe you just don't see the trails of the stars, because they are too weak?
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  6. #5 Re: Focal length 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    Another explanation could be the trail is an afterimage of Jupiter/Saturn. Was your tracking always on? Maybe you just don't see the trails of the stars, because they are too weak?
    I am a total amateur in this area. (Aliens studying my photographs would assume that humans have no heads.) However, this was exactly my thought when I saw the images: the coincidence of the trail ending/starting right on Jupiter is very suggestive.
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  7. #6 Re: Focal length 
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    Another explanation could be the trail is an afterimage of Jupiter/Saturn. Was your tracking always on? Maybe you just don't see the trails of the stars, because they are too weak?[/quote]


    There was no tracking, the image was only 15 second exposure. Look at the exif.

    Randy J.
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  8. #7  
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    I was thinking not of tracking, but of more some movement of the camera at the start of the fifteen second sequence. Is that not possible?
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  9. #8  
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    I'd say it's either the end of an exploding meteor trail, camera jiggle or our first evidence of technological life on Europa.
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  10. #9 The meteor did not explode!! 
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    posts here have been indicating an exploding meteor. The meteor or space debris
    did not explode. The large overexposed ball at the end of the trail is Saturn
    or more probably Jupiter.

    Randy J.
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  11. #10 Re: Focal length 
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    Quote Originally Posted by czydiamond
    There was no tracking, the image was only 15 second exposure. Look at the exif.
    The trail cannot be caused by the Earth movement (no tracking). It's much to long. Do you remember, when, where and in what direction you made the picture? In this way, you might be able to identify the bright object. But I think that Ophiolite's suggestion might be correct. Is it possible that you moved the camera by accident when starting the exposure?
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  12. #11  
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    I'm pretty sure that's a light trail artifact caused by camera movement.
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