Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 90: Nov-Dec 1993

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Alien Meteors

Meteors or shooting stars are usually considered to be small fragments that have been broken off the asteroids plying orbits between Mars and Jupiter. If this belief is correct, meteors darting into the earth's upper atmosphere would have speeds less than 260,000 kilometers per hour. Any objects with significantly higher velocities must come outside the solar system. It has, therefore, been unsettling to find that quite a few meteors hit our atmosphere at speeds much higher than 260,000 km/hr. Radar measurements of 160,000 meteors by A. Taylor and colleagues, at a New Zealand site, found that about 1% (1500 meteors) struck the atmosphere with velocities greater than 350,000 km/hr. These speedsters must come from beyond the solar system. The question arising is: Whence all this interstellar debris? One hint comes from the fact that the aliens appear to come from the direction in which the sun and its family of planets are traveling through interstellar space. Evidently, this interstellar medium is far from a vacuum; it is strewn with flotsam and jetsam -- but from what smashed planets, moons, and asteroids?

(Samson, Alan; "Radar Traps Visitors from Outer Space," Dominion Sun Times (Wellington), April 25, 1993. (Cr. P. Hassall)

From Science Frontiers #90, NOV-DEC 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987