Sky watcher Sam Green thought he’d struck gold when he captured this incredible image of what looks like meteors speeding towards Earth.
The 27-year-old builder, from Countesthorpe, was doing a job for his boss in Kibworth when he spotted mysterious goings on high in the clear, blue sky.
He said: “Where we were is on a flight path and you often get planes and helicopters flying over from Leicester Airport, which are interesting to look at and my camera is never far away from me. There was this brilliant, clear blue sky on Thursday and it was about 2pm when I happened to look up and noticed these two peculiar objects with vapour trails. They were close together and looked like they were falling straight down. When I looked away and looked back they were gone. I thought ‘that’s strange’. But about half an hour later, I looked again and saw four of them, so I thought ‘right, I’m going to take a picture’ and grabbed my camera.”
Sam managed to take three shots of the unidentified flying objects.
He said: “They seemed quite close together and it looked like two of them almost collided as they crossed paths. I thought these can’t possibly be aircraft because of the speed and trajectory.”
Sam posted his photographs on Facebook and e-mailed them to the Leicester Mercury in the hope someone could tell him what they were.
He said: “I’d been reading about a meteor show we could expect to see in the next few days and thought what else could it be."
We contacted Dr Nigel Bannister, senior lecturer at the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy for his thoughts.
He said: “I’ve a fair amount of experience in atmospheric phenomena and observational astronomy.
“They are very interesting images and do look quite mysterious. But, for me, the streaks look very much like contrails, or vapour trails, and I suspect they are high altitude aircraft. They’re most likely military jets – it’s not unusual for a number of aircraft to be travelling together but not necessarily in tight formation. It’s the altitude that makes the angle look strange.”
He added: “It’s unlikely they are meteors, or parts of a meteor, simply because the trails are not uniform. It’s unusual to spot meteors during the daytime in a clear sky. They also have a very brilliant fireball and a leave a long vapour trail, just like the one filmed coming down in Eastern Russia a few years ago .”
Dr Bannister also considered the possibility of falling space hardware.
“I don’t think so” he said. “I’ve checked the re-entry logs, and there was nothing predicted, or otherwise observed, for a space reentry for that date. Also, these don’t look like reentering fragments in any case. Those typically have very brilliant ‘heads’ followed by a trail, like the recent Russian ‘Progress’ vehicle – so I’m pretty confident it’s aircraft.”
Sam said: “Whatever they were, they were fascinating to watch and it certainly sparked a bit of interest and debate.”