Looking up at the sky is so passée in the modern world that few of us do it, which is probably why perfectly normal sights are misidentified when observed under uncommon circumstances. For example, everybody knows what a plane looks like, flying high in the sky, right? Not necessarily! Take a look at the video below, it was titled Asteroid ”2011 MD” – Cuernavaca-Mexico, yet this was not an asteroid (and certainly not 2011 MD)—it was just an aeroplane flying high in the sky at dusk in the direction of the Sun, which is why its contrails appear reddish and the fuselage shines brightly with reflected sunlight.
This second video also shows an aeroplane, yet the words that appear in the title are Meteorite Over Peru ELENiN FIREBALL UFO—I suppose it was never an option to whomever posted the video that this could be an aeroplane:
|Bird||30 – 160|
|500 – 900|
|1,000 – 3,650|
|Meteor||43,000 – 260,000|
How can we be sure these videos aren’t of meteors or comets? If nothing else, because of the speed at which the objects are travelling. Check out the values in the table to the side; they’re very different, right? Bear in mind these are apparent speeds relative to someone standing on Earth looking up at the sky (and remember that the “∼” symbol stands for “approximately”). Looking at the values in the table it should be easy to differentiate these objects by speed, if not by their appearance, which should also be very different. It’s true, the aeroplanes above look strange, but they don’t look like a meteor (and they move a lot slower than one).
Below is a video compendium showing various bright meteors and fireballs streaking across the sky; compare them to the videos above and the differences should be clear. Remember that a fireball, for practical purposes, is simply a meteor that appears brighter in the sky than any of the visible planets.
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