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  • Feb 2021 First Thursday Program

Feb 2021 First Thursday Program

  • 4 Feb 2021
  • 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Zoom Meeting

Space commentator and NAL member James Oberg will discuss:

“Fireball Swarms from Satellite Reentries -- Astonishing Mass Public Misinterpretations Provide Unexpected Perceptual Lessons.” 

My lifelong interest in how the public perceives and misperceives spaceflight has led me down another strange trail. One unexpected spin-off of spaceflight activities is a deeper understanding of human perception of bizarre night sky apparitions -- caused by fireball swarms from reentering satellites. Particularly with large objects such as upper stages, these swarms have been misperceived as lights mounted on large structure of unknown [even non-human] origin. This misidentification effect has been documented for decades with observers from all continents, cultures, professions, and ages. Aside from insights these serendipitous 'blind testings' can give, these experiences also provide insight into the fundamental misunderstandings in the general public about the realities of space flight and the wildly imaginary explanations conjured up to account for these events.

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