It's a meteorite, damn it!

At approximately 0545 this morning, a streak lit up the morning sky above Hampton Roads, Virginia. Many saw it. Few knew exactly what it was. Calls were made to various and sundry TV and radio stations.

So the local weatherman intelligently theorizes that it was something entering/reentering the Earth’s atmosphere because the vapor trail was illuminated by the sun even though sun rise had yet to occur here. Factoring the time to sunrise and the circumference of the Earth, he estimated that the trail was approximately 13 miles up.

Pretty intelligent guy save for the fact that he kept referring to the object as a comet.

Hey rain-boy! Thanks for proving you idiocy!

I’m writing a script based on a film we made on super-8 just after we got out of high school. We plan to make it into a bizarre feature-length comedy/horror. Here’s some dialog as Fred Sadizmo picks up the phone:

SADIZMO: Hello, yes? Brazen Flats Sheriff’s Station. Medical Examiner Fred Sadizmo speaking. Uh-huh. A meteor? Where? You know it’s called a meteorite if it hits the ground. That’s right, “meteorite”. Yes, I’m sure. Okay, I’ll tell the Sheriff Ruffman. Thanks for the call.

A comet???

(sorry, but I think that anyone (myself included) who tries to pass themselves off as as expert on something they are NOT an expert on is a fool…)

nitpick…it was probably a “meteor” (a meteorite reaches the ground)…or maybe a “fireball” (a particularly bright meteor) since so many people saw it.

“a comet”…tee hee. Well, at least he tried to be scientific about it and didn’t just start yelling “UFO! UFO!” or “all hail our new ant overlords” (Simpsons reference there).

“13 miles up”…interesting guess. But probably 3-5 times too low.

  • Phobos, expert & fool

Now, are those the ones that go from the ground up or from the ceiling down?


Stalag 13, right?

Um, is there any strict reason it couldn’t have been a comet?

It’s not accurate to call a spacegoing chunk of ice that enters the earth’s atmosphere a “meteor,” is it? I thought meteors had to be made of rock. If it were made of ice, why shouldn’t it be called a comet?

According to a spokesperson at NORAD, the object was a piece of space junk. Probably a spent rocket.

Latest report from WTOP- it was a discarded booster stage from a Russian rocket. The satellite that said rocket had put up long ago fell out of orbit; it’s only now that the booster stage is getting around to falling out of orbit.

Here’s my beef. How is it that every time a dog farts there’s 20 people videotaping it to mail it in to some show, but when a Big Honkin’ Piece of Stuff Falls Out of the Ghoddammed Sky, no one can get a shot of it.

There don’t appear to be any pictures of this thing, or of the bolides that fell east and west in the U.S. within the past couple months.

Please tell me that it wasn’t Craig Moeller on WVEC (ch 13) that made this gaffe.

He’s an astronomy buff. That kind of blunder could force other astronomers to come and forcibly remove his telescope.

teehee… dog farts is funny!

According to Merriam-Webster:

Pronunciation: 'mE-tE-&r, -"or
Function: noun
1 : an atmospheric phenomenon (as lightning or a snowfall)
2 a : any of the small particles of matter in the solar system that are directly observable only by their incandescence from frictional heating on entry into the atmosphere b : the streak of light produced by the passage of a meteor

So, whether it was a rock, a chunk of ice, a rocket booster, or Superman (“small particles of matter” being relative in size to, say, the Moon), it’s a meteor.


Space Junk

But if it misses, it’s called a meteorwrong.

Gotta go.

The timing is amazing! I just stumbled across this on the Bad Astronomers site.

What amazes me about incidents like this is not whether or not people videotape it, but the fact that hundreds of people will call the police, fire dept., air traffic control, whatever, to report it. I see lots of meteors (I saw one that streaked across about 1/3 of the sky a few weeks ago–a really brilliant and interesting sight), but I never feel like calling someone in an official capacity and saying…what? Actually, I don’t even know what they think they’re reporting. UFOs? A crashing airplane? The Iraqi Air Force? What? I mean, I just see the thing and say, “A meteor. Cool.” What’s with these people?

thinksnow, the mites go up and the tights come down :wink:

[sub]yes, yes, i know it’s not spelled “tights” but it’s just not as funny the other way, now, is it?[/sub]

I wonder the same thing, Malchats. (Is that French for “Bad Kitties”?) The same thing happens here whenever there is a large earthquake. People call the police, fire department, television stations, radio stations, etc. and say, “We had an easthquake!” Duh! We felt it!

I hate it when women come home and catch me looking through their underpants drawer and insist on calling the police.