Mystery Deepens - UFO?
Last updated 1/29/2017 at 11:34am
San Diego news media reported a "double boom" and "fireball in the sky" that occurred on Tuesday afternoon on January 24 at around 3:15 p.m., and as of this writing, the origin of the two possibly related events is still a mystery.
Using eyewitnesses to the event and calls to military and scientific agencies, the local NBC affiliate news reporter and Fox 5 News online both ruled out high-flying jets, test rockets, and earthquakes. Because the fireball object could not be identified, it can reasonably be referred to as an Unidentified Flying Object.
Adding to the mystery, reports a day later on Wednesday from Fox 5 news revealed more bangs and booms and shaking in San Diego, Del Mar, and Ocean Beach. Geologist Pat Abbot said it could have been caused by a meteor or a reverberation in the atmosphere. "Many causes possible but many of them are natural," he said. "They're not necessarily anything that we people have done."
In a seemingly related incident on Wednesday, January 25, but across the country in North Carolina, Huntersville homeowner Rob Swanson recently installed a light-activated camera outside of his home. When his wife got up to tend to their baby, she saw an interesting clip that featured a bright light in the sky. Planetarium Director at The Schiele Museum Jim Craig says the camera captured images of a meteor. "The shape of the flare is pretty distinctive," Craig said. "It's pretty straight forward. This was a meteor."
One website mentioned the meteor possibility amidst a string of other possible explanations such as an alien invasion, earthquake, jets, etc., but it did not elaborate on the meteor possibility. While the San Diego meteor explanation fits perfectly with what was observed, there was not even one sighting reported and listed by the Amateur Meteor Society (AMS), either nationally or from the San Diego chapter.
The entire conversation in San Diego news was instead about the very loud and mysterious “double bang" that rattled the region. What the news media failed to point out was that ALL objects in the atmosphere exceeding the sound barrier emit a "double bang," one sound wave at the front and a second one at the rear. Only those objects larger than about 100 feet in diameter (or length) are wide enough to cause audible separation in the two bangs. Smaller objects send out the two sound waves, but with ground arrival times in the 1/10 second or below range, they sound to folks on the ground as a single boom.
The Space Shuttle emitted an audible double sonic boom with 1/2 second separation because it is 122 feet in length. The San Diego double-bang was many times stronger than that, suggesting that if it was a meteor, it was an extremely powerful interloper that fortunately skipped off into space. But as mentioned above, there were no sightings or reports of a meteor by knowledgeable amateurs and experts who report on such events on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, there were no media reports of separation time between the two bangs, and that was a missed opportunity. We would at least have been able to then ascertain an approximation of its true size. If it were an object high in the upper atomosphere, one-half second separation between the bangs puts the UFO in range of 122 feet in length, the same as the Space Shuttle. Longer separation infers a bigger object.
Trudy Bell, a writer and research into many science-related topics, including meteors, wrote to me that the absence of any sightings or reports by AMS observers, “makes me suspicious about the reality of (a meteor event), as there are many active amateur observers in southern California in astronomical societies in both Los Angeles and San Diego.”
Absent any sighting reports of an alien spacecraft or reports from reliable observers with the AMS of anything related to meteors as the cause of the San Diego event, there is yet to be a reliable explanation for the double-bangs and fireball over the skies of San Diego. It does truly remain a mystery.