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I was camping recently (May 2014), and observed several shooting stars (very fast, short lived), a few satellites (very slow, long lived) and lots of aircraft (flashing lights) in the night sky.

All of the shooting stars appeared normal, as very fast streaks across the sky, which disappeared within a fraction of a second. All except one. One started fairly straight as normal, then took a completely unexpected wavy path (like releasing a balloon to fly around the room) towards the end of its flight. Then it winked out. What caused this?

Note, I was completely sober at the time, the sky was clear, and I believe this could not have been an aircraft or satellite because of its tremendous speed. Apart from this 'meteor', there was nothing else in the sky which could be interpreted as a firework.

Could this really have been a meteor, and what could have made it take this path? If not a meteor, what else could it have been?

(Note: I have tagged this 'UFO' because I'm not sure I can identify this object, not because I think it's an alien space craft).

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Googled "wavy meteor" and got this: meteorobs.org/bagnall/curved.htm –  HopDavid May 27 at 23:37
@HopDavid - I saw that too, but there was no reasonable explanation for what I saw, only something about meteors bouncing back out, which would only be a single bend. –  Rocketmagnet May 28 at 8:10
You don't need to make that clarification, a UFO does not (in any way) make reference to alien space crafts, it clearly means Unidentified Flying Object. If you would think it was an alien spacecraft then you wouldn't be calling it a UFO. –  harogaston May 30 at 3:58
Did the wavy meteor also last only fractions of a second? I guess it could've fragmented and created a spray which just appeared wavy as each fragment got bright in turn, and you instinctively connected the dots to a wave during that fraction of a second. –  LocalFluff May 30 at 9:03
@LocalFluff - Perhaps. I can't say for sure that it wasn't that. But it certainly seemed like a single object moving in a wavy trajectory. The whole event lasted about as long as any other shooting star; less than a second. –  Rocketmagnet May 30 at 9:13

2 Answers 2

yes its surely possible because i saw this same thing last winter duringthe geminid showers...I have a hunch this might be because that particular meteor either broke up, causing instantaneous acceleration/deceleration due to fluctuation in air resistance on it!

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If you imagine a physics sandbox where you can position planets and a meteorite, there would be some configurations that could cause it to move through a wavy or zig-zag trajectory; physics allows it.

However, as seen from planet earth, it's not posible to observe a natural meteorite with this kind of trajectory.

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Thanks Eduardo. Can yo elaborate? What configurations? Can you suggest what on earth I could have seen? –  Rocketmagnet May 27 at 21:50
What if the meteorite surface eroded until a pocket of gaseous material was exposed, resulting in something akin to a lateral thruster? –  Jeremy May 30 at 21:49
The meteor that the OP observed was in Earth's atmosphere; other planets won't be affecting the meteor's trajectory in such a case, while Earth's atmosphere will have a significant effect. –  Joshua Jul 9 at 22:20

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