This photograph is what the sky looked like at the beach this morning. It was about 6:15, the water was beautiful, but it was an odd sunrise. At least I’d never seen one like it. Was that a straight cloud coming out of the bigger one. Yep. What the heck?
As the morning grew brighter, the straight line began to take on a pink color, then a deep pink…and suddenly, I could see that the straight line extended above the cloud as well. Very cool, but I still didn’t know what it was.
As I drove back home, I considered what I had seen. To me, it looked as if something big had pierced the cloud. And according to the American Meteor Society, founded in 1911 (thank you, Google), that’s exactly what happened!
In their words: “Several thousand meteors of fireball magnitude occur in the Earth’s atmosphere each day. The vast majority of these, however, occur over the oceans and uninhabited regions, and a good many are masked by daylight. Those that occur at night also stand little chance of being detected due to the relatively low numbers of persons out to notice them.”
“Occasionally, however, the fireballs develop one of two possible types of trails behind them: trains and smoke trails. Most trains last only a few seconds, but on rare occasions a train may last up to several minutes.”
“The second type of trail is called a smoke trail and is more often seen in daylight fireballs than at night. Generally occurring below 80 km of altitude, smoke trails are a non-luminous trail of particulate stripped away during the ablation process. These appear similar to contrails left behind by aircraft and can have either a light or dark appearance according to the time of day and amount of sunlight available.”
So…wow! Here is the photo I took at 6:25. Notice the smoke trail above, as well as below, the cloud.