(meteorobs) black meteor repost

Norman W. McLeod III nmcleod at peganet.com
Mon Nov 29 05:09:17 EST 2004

At 09:39 AM 11/20/2004, you wrote:
>Could you "discuss" the black meteor briefly again Norman; or anyone else.
>I've read and long thought that this was simply something similar to a 
>floater in the eye.  Thanks.
>Long trains,
>      Jeff W.

Here is a partial repost I did on 7 Feb 1999 concerning black 
meteors.  Their frequency seems less that what I originally wrote.  I have 
heard several possible explanations for them but am not satisfied with 
any.  Repost begins next :

I watched the Perseids of 1960 for a couple of hours at max with my best 
friend at the time.  Late in the second hour I was astonished to see what 
looked like a meteor with no color at all, and my announcement of having 
just  seen a black meteor got us both laughing.  It wasn't fatigue-induced 
either, for I was fully alert.  Turns out I have generally seen one, 
sometimes two, during most of my observing sessions.  Over the years the 
appearance of black meteors has been linked to fatigue a number of times, 
but that hasn't been the case with me.  Too bad I haven't been recording them.

Our reasoning with joviality  was that meteors come in all colors, so why 
not black ones?  The ones I see are generally Geminid speed with the moving 
body visible as a point.  I even get an impression of magnitude from 
them,  perhaps from the size of the black spot compared to the size of star 
glare.  The majority are magnitudes  +1 to +3 and travel an average of 10 
degrees.  I have never seen one move so fast that only a streak was visible 
(as in the majority of short fast meteors), nor have I ever seen one leave 
a train (black or otherwise.)  They seem very real to me, but all these 
years the situation has been a joke.  Perhaps it's time to reconsider?

Nebulous meteors are plenty real.  Most of them have a bright central body 
surrounded by an ethereal envelope, and the ones that are also carrying a 
wake look like moving comets.  Very rare are the ones that have an 
appearance like a moving planetary nebula with no central body.  In nearly 
all cases the meteors are slow.  I always mention these in my notes.


Norman W. McLeod III
Staff Advisor
American Meteor Society

Fort Myers, Florida
nmcleod at peganet.com
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