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Is it a comet, an aircraft, or satellite debris burning up in the atmosphere? A Winnipeg woman is asking for help to explain a mysterious object she caught on camera.
"It was like a red fireball falling down from the sky," Sylvia McLeod, 31, told CTV.ca Tuesday.
"I have no idea what it is. I thought it would be all over the news. I went on the Internet and tried to find any information, but couldn't find anything."
McLeod said she filmed the strange object Monday night between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., just as the sun set.
"It was moving kind of slowly. But I knew it was falling. I couldn't get the whole shot of it because my camera didn't have enough memory," she said.
Asked whether she had ever seen anything like it before, McLeod answered: "Only in movies."
Prof. Jaymie Matthews, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, said he wasn't sure exactly what was caught on camera -- but he ruled out several possibilities.
"A comet that bright, that close to the Sun, visible in the twilight sky, would have been spotted by professional and amateur astronomers long before last night," he wrote in an email from Paris. "And it would have been visible to people across North America last night, and still tonight."
He added that it was also definitely not a meteor, fireball or a disintegrating space debris.
"It would have moved across the sky or even below the horizon in the time covered by the video footage," he wrote.
Dr. Andrew Howell, with the University of Toronto's Astronomy Department, said if the video had been taken in January 2007 it would have probably been Comet McNaught.
Since it was taken this week "then it isn't a comet, since no other recent comet has been that bright," he told CTV.ca.
So what was it?
Paul Delaney, a professor of physics and astronomy at York University in Toronto, said it could be a bolide (bright meteor).
However, he said "assuming the video timing is 'real time' it is not moving anywhere near fast enough."
Howell added that meteors don't usually have a bright spot at the end, making it an unlikely possibility.
Chris Rutkowski, who has seen hundreds of strange unexplained images as director of the Winnipeg-based Ufology Research Institute, said his best guess would be a plane.
He said it would be "high enough that it's still in sunlight as the sun was setting," and the tail of the object would be the contrail of the aircraft -- the vapour trail left by the plane's engines.
Howell backed Rutkowski's opinion saying it could be "sunlight reflecting off of an aircraft with a contrail."
but could it have been an.. alien plane?
anyone else had close encounters of the unidentifiable kind?