Hi there, thanx for the replies.
Gosh, lots of questions, but that's a good thing.
I actually wrote a fairly long original message with lot's of detail, but what I have found is that if my messages are too long, they don't get read as often. So I tried to keep it short but to the point. The first message was limited in detail but that was by design.
That's OK, that's why I asked for more detail. Believe me, I read evry word of every meteor post..
The largest city I am near is San Francisco.
That's good, then I can recreate your sky.
The brightness of the object is somewhat difficult for me to estimate. The middle was the most bright, and the brightness faded as one moved away from the object (but not much). I would say the middle was as bright as the middle of the meteors I had seen that night. But the outer portions of the object were less bright. The outer portions of the object reminded me of the amber street lights that some cities have. I would say that the brightness in general was brighter than Jupiter but that is a conservative estimate. I would rather compare it's brightness to the moon or another meteor.
The color you describe might be an important clue combined with the direction you gave. I have an idea, but there are some problems with the later statements
The appearent size of the object was way larger than any planet or star or meteor in the sky. It would be more accurate to compare it to a full moon in terms of size. It's size appeared to be maybe half to three quarters the diamater of a full moon high in the sky. I think this is because of it's low altitude though.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that this object WAS as big as the moon or even close to it. The mass of the moon is many orders above the mass of whatever this was. I think it's actual size was quite small, but with it's halo, it appeared much bigger.
This fits with my theoretical ID.
The height was 90 degrees (from the horizon) when I first saw it. I lost sight of the object when it was about 30-40 degrees above the horizon.
Here we have a problem. 90 degrees from the horizon means it was directly overhead. Yet you said it appeared between cloud layers. Either your reported elevation isn't the right number of degrees, or, well that's what it must be
can you clarify? You desribed the end point as 30-40 degrees, so that's 3-4 first widths above the horizon, right? Please don't be offended by my questions, but something doesn't add up here and I'm trying to get to the root of it.
All this happened in about 1 second so I only had 1 second to gather all this information.
How sure are you of the one second estimate? I find that without training, most lay observers can be very far off in the amount of time they see a meteor. It took me a few years of serious meteor observing to get that stuff as accurate as I liked. Could it be 2 seconds? Could it be half a second? Depending on the clarification of the start and end elevation, this might make a difference.
The path was basically parallel to the surface of the earth. Although it may have been climbing a bit.
This also indicates we have a problem describing what you saw. You said it started at 90 degrees elevation (overhead) and ended at 30-40 degrees elevation. That isn't parallel, that is a sharp downward path. So somwhere here, we are having trouble with how you are describing what you saw in actual elevation measurements. Hope we can clear it up
I realize the fact that ones perspective can make things look bigger, smaller, brighter, faster, slower etc.
As far as the altitude of the object, the two cloud layers basically define an altitude range of the object. The cloud layers I was looking at were MUCH, MUCH lower than 60 miles. These were not cirrus or high altitude clouds. You can believe this or not, if you like, but I do say the truth.
I'm not saying that at all
Even cirrus clouds are only 7 miles or so up, while meteors are 60 miles up.
The object went in between two cloud layers that were LOW in altitude. The first layer was a fog bank off the coast. This cloud layer is VERY LOW in altitude. In fact, this fog layer basically touches the ground and then extends perhaps several thousand feet up.
The upper layer was a layer of cumulus clouds that were above the fog bank.
The object lit up the top of the lower level and the bottom of the upper layer.
The finger of fog and the cumulus cloud layer was only about 5-10 or so miles south of my position. When I was driving home I went under the two cloud layers. It certainly was not 200-400 miles away or 60 miles up, not even close.
Again, an object, even 60 (or 250,000, or 93 million) miles away can still light up the cloud layers above and below from your perspective
if the light source is in between from your viewpoint.
Anyway, here's a bunch more info for you. I hope I answered all questions and gave you sufficient detail. If you want better direction info, me and a compass can do that.
Well, if you could can you give the direction of the start and end point. IIRC, you said NW to SE (IIRC; I'll have to check back but can't do that while I'm writing this reply). Can you be more specific? If you can't that's OK, like I said I have an idea fermenting in my head
The other question is getting the starting and end points better defined in degrees. As I said, what you wrote doesn't match your verbal description, so if you have the time to clear that up, it might help.
I love these mysteries
Again, thanx for the replies,
I'm pleased to help; I will also check the fireball reports since by now some from the 13th of Aug should be in the AMS database....then we can see if anyone else reported it.