picture of the day
Jun 01, 2006
The Peekskill Meteor
Bolides that flicker, flare up and
explode as they streak toward the earth pose unanswered questions for
scientists. Why do most meteors become visible to the eye when they are
about 60 miles in altitude but a few appear at up to twice that height? Why are some
meteors accompanied by electrophonic sound that is simultaneous with
their flaring up?
In the evening of October 9, 1992 a fireball
appeared in the sky over West Virginia. This
distinctively green-hued fireball traveled visibly over 700 km in 40+
seconds. Thousands of people saw it, and dozens reported observations that
enabled scientists to determine its path and behavior. At least 16
different witnesses videotaped it.
At some point in its flight this meteoric fireball
fragmented with significant longitudinal displacement of fragments and
slight transverse displacement for some of the fragments, both of which
can be seen in the photos above. Before fragmentation, though, the
meteoric fireball left a distinctly flickering wake trail. Also during its flight the fireball flared twice
dramatically, reaching a brightness exceeding that of a full moon. Some
witnesses describe an explosive "pop" before it "burst into a rainbow of
One observer commented: "When
I saw it, it was still in one piece. It was an electric lime green with
tendril-like extensions. It did not look like it was burning up so much
as undergoing an electrical interaction. In the photo after fragmentation,
one can notice the electric coma on the lead meteor."
Many witnesses described hearing electrostatic noises
or "crackling" sounds just before and for several seconds after
fragmentation. Since the fragmentation took place at an altitude of
about 41.7 km (26 miles) in a vacuum where there is NOT enough
atmosphere to carry sound, how did this electrophonic noise propagate
for over 25 miles?
“Electrophonic sounds from large meteor fireballs”, Keay, Colin
S.L., Meteoritics (ISSN 0026-1114), vol. 27, no. 2, June 1992,
p. 144-148. Research supported by Herzberg Institute for
Astrophysics, Queen Mary and Westfield College, and SERC.
the abstract of the article given on:
“Anomalous sounds from large meteor
fireballs, anomalous because they are audible simultaneously
with the sighting, have been a matter for debate for over two
centuries. Only a minority of observers perceive them. Ten years
ago a viable physical explanation was developed (Keay, 1980)
which accounts for the phenomenon in terms of ELF/VLF radiation
from the fireball plasma being transduced into acoustic waves
whenever appropriate objects happen to be in the vicinity of an
observer. This explanation has now been verified observationally
and supported by other evidence including the study of meteor
fireball light curves reported here”.
Astrophysicists try to calculate the original mass of the Peekskill bolide from
the total energy released. They present a value range from 2 to 25 tons, but
these calculations give no consideration to electric charge and electric
forces. In the Electric Universe view, any object coming far from the earth would be charged differently.
As it encounters lower layers of the Earth's plasma sheath, the voltage
between the object and the layer would increase and the object would
begin to discharge visibly.
At first it would be surrounded by a “glow discharge”, a
diffuse luminescence similar to St. Elmo’s fire or to high-altitude
“elves”. As the voltage increased, the discharge would jump
to “arc” mode, and the object would become an electrode at the focus
of upper-atmospheric charge.
At this point it would begin to ablate material in a discharge process
as well as from velocity-caused air friction.
Since there is no indication of oxidizable elements associated with the recovered fragment, it is
unlikely that the flareups were caused by chemical reaction. The most likely explanation
is that of its running into a more highly charged region.
Regardless, the total energy released would always be the combination
of kinetic energy, chemical energy and electric energy.
One significant question needs to be answered. At about 50 km (31 miles)
above the Earth's surface, is there enough material in space to begin a
friction ablation process for an object traveling 14.7km/s (32.9
thousand mph)? If not, one is justified to conclude that electrical interaction
took place to initiate the glow and flareups. Others have misgivings
concerning the adequacy of friction ablation, also. See: