Perseids: Why the multi-color trail?

Here is a photo I took Saturday morning:

Why the multi-color trail? Are the dust particles coated with copper that burns off? I have several images, and they all look similar.

I’m guessing that it was high enough to still be lit by the sun.

I don’t think so.
It was 4 hours before dawn.

I think the green is from nickel in the meteor. The Perseids are mostly “stony” meteors but they can have elements like nickel in them. That’s my best guess.

What’s the giant glowing thing over the horizon?

This page suggests it is the ionisation of the air that is important

I’ve heard a lot of different theories, but the fact that the colour changes during the trajectory suggests that speed or altitude affects the colour in one way or another.

A nearby city or highway. That’ll be brighter than the milky way unless you’re 100+ miles from a city, or somewhere with minimal haze like a mountain in the desert.

Did you see the color change with your naked eye, too, or just with the camera? Another possibility is differing sensitivities in the different color sensors in your camera: It might have been too dim to register on all sensors at some parts of its trajectory.

The Moon…
Moonset was around 1:20AM

I don’t see how. Looking at the background stars, the color sensitivity is very uniform across the image, and for stars of different brightness.

If the trail were almost perfectly vertical or horizontal, I might suspect aliasing, but that’s clearly not the case.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty widely accepted that meteors do change color. Here’s another good example, with a discussion to go along with it.

I saw Perseid meteor with a multi-colored trail, too! I thought at the time my eyes were playing tricks on me because I was so damned sleepy.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of possible causes for a genuinely multi-colored trail. I’m just trying to cover all of the bases.

I would suspect the camera too, but it turns out that the Perseids are noted for their colorful tails.
The colour effect is apparently caused by burning oxygen. Green in the higher atmosphere, turning red at lower altitudes.

You forgot to mention nyan cats meteor-surfing. Just sayin’. :smiley: