2012 Western Australia "meteor" identified? (contrail)

Trailblazer

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Staff member
While looking for images of the meteor seen over Arizona this morning, I happened to come across this story of a supposed meteor trail seen near Perth in June 2012:

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/meteor-plunges-into-ocean-lighting-up-perth-sky/story-e6frg12l-1226413309565





It clearly resembles a sunlit contrail, so as the Planefinder.net playback goes back many years now, I thought I'd see what was likely to be responsible.

Sunset on the day in question, June 29, 2012, in Cottesloe was at 5:23pm local time (9:23am GMT).

The picture taken around sunset appears to show a shadow indicating that the contrail was almost aligned with the direction of the sun, and passing south of the observer's viewpoint. Looking at the angle of the sunset this implies the contrail was roughly northwest-southeast: (NB Sunset shows at 10:23am BST, my current time zone)

upload_2016-6-2_16-2-43.png

There were a couple of flights departing Perth shortly before the time in question, but they seem to take a route too northerly to be responsible.

In my opinion it may well have actually been caused by a flight heading towards the coast: this Emirates flight into Perth. By the time the photos were taken, it would have descended below contrail altitude and the plane would have been essentially invisible:

upload_2016-6-2_15-55-16.png

The fact that the more distant part of the trail appears to be more spread out than the nearer part would seem to back up this theory, despite observers claiming to have seen an object "falling".
 
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