I got an email today from a meteorite enthusiast named George. George disputed the authenticity of my meteor picture. He suggested the following at the conclusion of a lengthy unresolved debate.
My suggestion though is to not use your photo for any source of finding a strewnfield. I think you would have better luck in the long run.
When I got home I emailed Dirk Ross (Tokyo) from Lunar Meteorite Hunters Blog and asked him to give me a call. Dirk has been helping me out with the meteorite hunt and he really knows his stuff. I told Dirk about the email exchange I had with George and he told me that when my picture first surfaced it was immediately scrutinized. There were dozens of emails on the meteorite list with the subject “Astro Mike”. All of the hardcore meteorite dudes were debating whether or not my picture was really a meteor and not something else (like a plane). There were basically two camps: the believers and the doubters. Because the opinion was initially disputed the trajectory experts were not considering the data obtained from my picture at all. Dirk Ross was one of these meteor trajectory wizards and he plotted an impact zone days after the fall. Dirk with the help of Elton Jones and others plotted the trajectory estimate and impact zone using only the York Water meteor video and eye witness reports.
Unfortunately no one listened to Dirk and instead they went with a ‘due east’ trajectory past York. This resulted in 100s of lost video recordings of the meteor. The city of Lancaster alone apparently recently installed a security system that has cameras on every street corner in the city (thanks for letting me know this M Gaines). Security video recordings are usually only saved for 7 days and then overwritten. The ground work to look for security cameras was focused in the York area. No security videos were ever recovered from Lancaster. No matter, two new videos did surface: Safe Harbor and the Pittsburgh fireball video. The Pittsburgh video (also found by Dirk), shows 3 stars and the planet Jupiter. This stellar information in combination with my stellar picture and the York Water Fireball Video and Safe Harbor videos gave Rob Matson and Marc Fries abnormally good data for a fireball trajectory.
Here is the kicker: Dirk Ross’s initial impact point is roughly 10 miles from the impact point Marc Fries and Rob Matson calculated using ALL of the video evidence. Dirk, that is pretty darn good.
George thanks for doubting my picture. Looking at Dirk’s data makes me feel extra special confident about the location we are working in right now. I wouldn’t have run into this new data if we hadn’t had our email debate.
Here are the Google Earth maps that show both Dirk Ross’s projection (using only York and eye witnesses) and Rob Matson/Marc Fries projection (using all available data).