[meteorite-list] NP Article, 03-14-2003 Canada Light May Be Space Junk

From: MARK BOSTICK <thebigcollector_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:23:49 2004
Message-ID: <OE13eKZrUwzhhPSZDa8000147d2_at_hotmail.com>

Paper: The Chronicle-Journal
City: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date: March 14, 2003

U.S.-based research centre believes light over city may have been space junk
By Kris Ketonen

Officials with a Las Vegas-based aerial anomaly research centre believe the
strange light seen over Thunder Bay last weekend may have been a piece of
space junk re-entering the atmosphere.

Colm Kelleher, who holds a PhD in biochemistry and serves as deputy
administrator with the National Institute for Discovery Science - a
privately funded organization that looks into things like UFOs and cattle
mutilations - said there were "substantial" space junk reentries scheduled
for atmosphere March 3 and 11.

One of them was remnants from a European Space Agency launch about two weeks
ago, and the other was part of a satellite, he said.

"Usually, they can pinpoint these things pretty accurately," he said from
Las Vegas yesterday. "They can usually predict a flight path."

There were no re-entries scheduled for March 8, however, Kelleher said.
Therefore a meteor, mentioned earlier this week by Lakehead University
geologist Stephen Kissin, is also a possibility.

But whatever it was, NIDS is looking for eyewitness accounts to help
determine the trajectory, and possibly locate the object if it crashed to
earth. If the path is determined, NIDS will likely contact a meteor-chasing
group it works with.

"A lot of geology-type people are very interested in actually laying their
hands on the finished product when it hits the ground," Kelleher said. "It
has a lot of geological or geophysical interest in the academic community.

"We would probably not send somebody up there because we're not personally
interested in collecting meteors."

If the object is determined to be space junk, an organization dealing with
that would be contacted to finish it up.

Kelleher - who contacted The Chronicle-Journal looking for information on
the sightings - said the institute took notice of the event after getting a
call from a Portland, Maine radio station. A host there saw the light, and
spoke about it on her show. The station received about 30 calls from other
witnesses, which prompted the host to call NIDS to see if it knew anything
about it.

It didn't, so Kelleher himself appeared on one of the station's programs
Wednesday to talk about the event. Since then, NIDS has received several
phone calls from Portland-area eye witnesses.

Kelleher said it's likely the light in Oregon and the light seen in Thunder
Bay are one and the same. They were both seen Saturday at about the same
time (between 7 and 8 p.m. Eastern time), both were travelling west, and
both were described as balls of light.

The light was also reported in Dryden, Atikokan and in the Cook County
News-Herald, a newspaper based in Grand Marais, Minn.

The only differences are that nobody in the U.S. heard any noise, and there
were different colours reported, from green to purple to orange and red.

The light in Thunder Bay was described as orange, but Kelleher said there's
an explanation for the discrepancies.

"A lot of that would be associated with ionization," he said, adding he was
planning on talking with a NIDS physicist who's an expert in the topic.
Ionization is the process by which an object, or part of an object, is
converted to ions.

Kelleher said he plans on talking with the physicist when the reports die
down, likely in the next day or so.

Anyone who wishes to report a sighting can phone the NIDS UFO hotline at
(702) 798-1700, or fill out an online report sheet on their Web site at

The UFO hotline was set up about four years ago, and has garnered about
5,000 reports of strange aerial phenomena, Kelleher said. The vast majority
of those are easily explainable as things like airplanes or weather

"I would say probably less than 1,000 are still in the unexplained
 category," Kelleher said.
Received on Wed 19 Mar 2003 12:41:24 PM PST

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