[meteorite-list] Comment on zigzagging

From: Marc D. Fries <m.fries_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat Jul 3 09:44:16 2004
Message-ID: <1109.>

Howdy, list

   I've been very busy this past week and someone may have already made
this comment - apologies if so. I wanted to point out that
"zig-zagging" may simply be an artifact of apparent viewing angle.
I've attached a crude doodle to this email; I don't know if the
listserv allows such things...
   Picture this - a meteorite tumbling through the atmosphere is tumbling,
and traces a corkscrewing path through the sky. Hold up a corkscrew -
if you look at it point-on it looks like a circle and if you look at it
side-on it looks like a sine wave. If you turn it about 45 degrees or
so it is sharply distorted in the vertical - it looks like a zig-zag
pattern. It also looks very much like that picture of Pasamonte's
ingress that was passed around.

   I'm not convinced that meteorites can "zig zag" sharply across the sky
- I would assume that violent maneuvers would tend to break them up.
Zig-zagging is likely just an artifact of observation. I also take
back my previous notion that zig-zagging likely indicates a piece of
space junk - apparently anything can appear to zigzag if you look at it
from the right angle.

   Again; my apologies if everyone has gone over this already - I had to
trash a lot of messages this week without reading them.


Marc D. Fries, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Geophysical Laboratory
5251 Broad Branch Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20015
PH:  202 478 7970
FAX: 202 478 8901
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Received on Sat 03 Jul 2004 09:44:10 AM PDT

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