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Newsgroups: sci.astro,alt.sci.planetary,alt.astronomy
From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Probable Meteor Flashes Over San Francisco Bay Area
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 21:56:33 GMT

In article <>,
 <> wrote:
>A lot of Bay Area eyewitness reports are talking about this "meteor"
>stopping in the sky and hanging out for a minute or so before cruising on.

Eyewitnesses often imagine quite remarkable things when presented briefly
with an unfamiliar phenomenon.  Eyewitness reports of air crashes, for
example, often bear little resemblance to the known facts.  Such reports
should not be taken as reliable.  (Not even if they agree on certain
points -- there are characteristic patterns of mistakes that untrained
eyewitnesses tend to make.  For example, it is quite difficult to judge
short periods of time without mechanical aid, and sudden exciting events
are commonly reported to last much longer than they really did.  For
another, the reason why aircraft warning lights on towers etc. *blink* is
that a steady point of light on a featureless background is often
perceived as moving in strange ways, even if it is utterly motionless
in fact.)
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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