was that a UFO?
September 19, 2008 9:47 AM   Subscribe

was that a UFO!?!?!?!??

i live in garmisch, germany. there are constantly jets flying above heading to munich to land. they always leave jet streams. so just now, i watched something fly overhead (at 6pm, not dark at all) without a jetstream.

does anyone know what that aircraft is?
posted by badish to Technology (14 answers total)
did it look like a jet sans jet stream?
posted by nitsuj at 9:50 AM on September 19, 2008

Something related to this, three days ago in Berlin?

Strange things are afoot in Germany!
posted by afx237vi at 9:52 AM on September 19, 2008

It is entirely possible for planes to fly at high altitudes without a contrail. This is a function of temperature and humidity... generally you need -40 deg or lower with an RH of 70% or above to get efficient contrail production. The distribution of humidity can vary tremendously across a short distance, which is why some parts of the sky might produce contrails and some don't. Also the plane could have been flying below the -40 deg layer (i.e. below 30 to 35 thousand feet).
posted by crapmatic at 9:55 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

i don't think it was this. it looked basically like a jet flying 30,000 feet above without a jet stream. does nitsuj know? sounds like he does :)
posted by badish at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2008

It's a streetlight.

Seriously though, I don't think contrails are a necessary consequence of flight.
posted by Grither at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


i'm glad we're not getting attacked then!!!
posted by badish at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008

[a few comments removed - pls keep lulz in your pants, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:41 AM on September 19, 2008

[what did I just say?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:39 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]

Wait, you have no photographic evidence? Honestly, its impossible to know what you saw at this point. There are literally millions of things that can make impressions in the sky.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:53 AM on September 19, 2008

Yeah, it could be anything. A plane, a balloon, a bird, a planet, a satellite, a star (not a star like Zooey Deschanel, a star like our sun). Impossible to say, really, but jumping to the conclusion that it's a UFO seems kind of silly.
posted by notmydesk at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2008

you are confusing the jet stream with contrails but that's a minor point.

crapmatic is right, jets do not automatically and constantly produce contrails.

it is very possible for this aircraft to have been a turboprop as well. there are a lot of props that can fly quite high and since they tend to be smaller than a widebody jet you might be fooled into assuming they are even higher. the grob strato doesn't operate anymore but used to fly quite close to your location if I am not mistaken. there are currently lots of atr 42&72 operating commuter flights in northern europe. these aircraft fly at up to 21,000ft.
posted by krautland at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2008

Not all airplanes are jets.
posted by JJ86 at 1:38 PM on September 19, 2008

Clearly it was a UFO - Unidentified Flying Object. You haven't identified it, so it was a UFO.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:04 PM on September 19, 2008

Probably a satellite, or just a plane. This reminds me that Jules Verne, the automated ISS resupply ship, will be plunging into the Pacific later this month. Those of us in Europe and North America should be favored for viewing flybys this weekend. My understanding is that the craft will be as bright as Polaris (North Star).
posted by IvoShandor at 12:23 AM on September 20, 2008

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