Mysterious meteor and “orb” over California appears to be faked

This appeared on Boing Boing with no context or explanation, helping to spread the conjecture that it’s real and, ominously, a crashing UFO that releases an “escape pod”. We at DN must point out that there is a major problem with this idea. For such a clear event, there were no reported meteors on January 5, which renders this extremely suspicious.

UFO Sighting? Mysterious Fireball Ejecting A UFO Sparks Viral Debate; Is It A Meteorite? A Satellite? A Hoax? 

Mike Hankey, from the American Meteor Society, said: “This video looks fake. It was published on Jan 5 and we had no reports of fireballs in southern California on Jan. 5 or Jan. 4.”

Also suspicious is that this is covered on mystery sites like Open Minds and dubious sources like the Daily Mail but NOT on reputable news outlets and not confirmed by experts. Many commentators seem to think it’s faked. We’re going to go with that too in light of the lack of confirmative evidence.

So called "orb" released from fireball. The claim is unconfirmed and possibly faked.

So called “orb” released from fireball. The claim is unconfirmed and possibly faked.

Additional information is appreciated.

Tip: Dave Shevett

  4 comments for “Mysterious meteor and “orb” over California appears to be faked

  1. January 8, 2015 at 3:20 AM

    According forum, where I reported the video in a new thread to ask an opinion, the fake is confirmed:

    by the expert HOAXKiller1:

    “It’s a HOAX. It’s pure CGI.

    You can see it’s not even a real video. They used a common technique where they take a single image (in this case a low quality compressed image) and added fake camera movements, and fake zoom, and fake noise / grain to make it appear like a video. It makes it easier to add a fake UFO animation to it, so they can avoid having to do any motion tracking / match moving.

    We can tell it is a fake video made from a single image (low quality compressed image) because you can see gradient banding (caused by compression) in the sky, and the gradient banding is moving with the foreground / background fixed in the sky. This means the image of the sky was compressed first, then it was made into a compressed video.

    If this was a real video, the gradient banding wouldn’t move with the foreground / background. Video compression would have caused the gradient to form, and the gradient would not be fixed in place, it would move around constantly as the video’s images / frame changed. But in this case, the gradient was already formed by image compression first, then it was compressed into a video. So the banding is fixed in the sky.

    So it is a confirmed HOAX..

    There is another video with a similar event. In this case you can obviously see fake camera movements, and also the YouTube user / channel has a history of ‘liking” many “Adobe After Effects” videos and tutorials in specific effects.

    Adding HOAX to the title and will move to the HOAX forum later.”

  2. January 8, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    Excellent. Thanks for the links.

  3. Bill T.
    January 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    “Thumbs-up”, “Thumbs-down” and comments disabled on the you-tube hosting of the video. Gee, I wonder why? As of Thursday morning, over 1.25 million hits.


    I try to avoid going to these posts, assuming that all criticism will be disabled, I don’t like adding to their hit-count.

  4. David A.
    January 9, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    I live in California (the S.F. bay area, not southern CA) and actually saw a meteor somewhere around that time. It might have been on Jan. 3rd though. It was probably this event:
    I didn’t see any mysterious orbs though.

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