View Full Version : Flashes in sky

27th Jul 2016, 10:58
Visiting relative in Lincolnshire near Waddington.
Tuesday evening beautiful clear sky.
Looking straight up at the Milky Way, thinking what a wonder World we live on.
Looking for satellites passing over.
Then saw over a ten second period 4-5 small explosion and flashes directly above, all about the same spot, perhaps a thumb width at arms length, like fireworks.
Looks as though something had entered the atmosphere vertically, then exploded.
Ten seconds later meteorite streamed across the sky.
Have seen many of those but never seen high altitude explosions before.
Anyone know what it would be?

Art Smass
27th Jul 2016, 11:52
possibly a"point" meteor - i.e one coming straight on towards the observer rather than tangentially across the sky

tony draper
27th Jul 2016, 11:58
Iridium Flares?
An Iridium flare is a specific type of satellite flare (also known as satellite glint) made when the antennas of an Iridium communication satellite reflect sunlight directly onto the surface of the Earth.

B Fraser
27th Jul 2016, 12:03
I wondered the same thing Admiral Drapes but do they appear in clusters at about the same time ? I don't think so but happy to be proven wrong.

Juliet Sierra Papa
27th Jul 2016, 12:29
High altitude satellite which is revolving slowly and each revolution reflects sunlight off mission antenna at a certain time only when the Sun, Satellite and yourself are in the correct place at the right time.

27th Jul 2016, 12:36
If indeed Iridium flares you can track them to see where and when you should see them, see

IRIDIUMS - Satellites and Flares - ONLINE 3D REAL TIME TRACKING (http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=iridium)

B Fraser
27th Jul 2016, 13:17

Here's one courtesy of the University of YouTube

27th Jul 2016, 13:20
Most likely just someone put too much of the volatile solvent in a chem-trailer and it exploded as the volatiles drifted into the jet exhaust...



28th Jul 2016, 08:59
The OP describes the flashes as
Then saw over a ten second period 4-5 small explosion and flashes directly above, all about the same spot, perhaps a thumb width at arms length, like fireworks.

Which sounds nothing like any iridium flash or orbiting satellite I have ever seen/photographed/imaged over the years.

If it wasn't fireworks ( which TBH honest has to be a possibility) then I'd have to agree with the idea of it being a meteor entry being seen end on, i.e. "point meteor" - but such a thing being visible period for 10 secs is highly unlikely...or a more unlikely theory might be space debris...but then again due to the mechanics of these things re-entering space debris normally has obvious lateral movement, and you really wouldn't expect to see an "end on" space debris reentry directly above the observers head.

28th Jul 2016, 09:12
Could also be a rare phenomenon I heard of being called "dry lightning" (translated from Swedish) where a tiny shrapnel of space debris enter the atmosphere and causes an electric charge. Like lightning, but without clouds, hence "dry".

B Fraser
28th Jul 2016, 09:35
There are other weird things called sprites which are worth googling. There is some footage somewhere taken from the shuttle which is very interesting.

The cluster of meteorite particles sounds the most plausible. They are surprisingly small, of the order of a grain of sand. Mass doesn't really matter so much when you are travelling at great speed.

Loose rivets
28th Jul 2016, 11:04
When sprites were first shown on TV I phoned into the BBC question desk (for that program) and suggested that it's what happens over a CB when the energy collapses back into a vertical core and makes the entire shaft 'Lase'.

No one though my idea valid for 10 years and then it was suggested there's enough energy, and that the core, rough as it is, could just possibly, lase.

Then there's my theory of gravity . . . :\

The meteor that exploded beside me lit up the Earth from Stavanger to Cork. Sitting there fat dumb and happy on a lovely night, when suddenly it's daytime.

28th Jul 2016, 13:12
I wonder if it was the start of this?

Mystery Fireball Lights Up Night Sky In US (http://news.sky.com/story/mystery-fireball-lights-up-night-sky-in-us-10514906)

28th Jul 2016, 16:49
It's the "Then saw over a ten second period 4-5 small explosion and flashes directly above, all about the same spot (my emphasis) that is troubling me and wondering if what was seen was at quite low altitude and not associated with anything "extra terrestrial".

As far as the US Fireball event is concerned because entry events happen at relatively low altitudes ( < 100 miles) they are usually seen over a small area in the global scheme of things, and the US event was several thousand miles from the UK and again we still have the problem that what the OP describes seems to have appeared almost stationary. I've been checking and there's been no reports of large items of space debris re-entring over the UK recently and the UK Meteor/Fireball networks haven't flagged up anything untoward recently.

I would add that I know from back in the day before easy and widespread electronic imaging (we're talking cold nights sat in a deck chair with a clipboard and thermos flask) that even experienced meteor observers, with good knowledge of constellations to help them gauge meteor trail length, elevation etc, found it hard at times to get a handle on meteor trail magnitudes, elevations and duration.

Edit to add: Re the US event - According to this source http://www.aerospace.org/cords/reentry-predictions/upcoming-reentries-2-2/2016-042e/ and others the object seen re-entering over the southern US had a ground track that didn't pass anywhere near the UK.

29th Jul 2016, 23:29
Well looked around Youtube, etc, nothing seen similar.
Best described as fire crackers going off, but at very high altitude.
The later meteorite just coincidence.

30th Jul 2016, 09:27
Aerosparx practicing?

30th Jul 2016, 23:29
Pixilation problem during system upgrade for the server on our particular universe.