If a signal gets picked up by a meteor detector but it’s not a meteor, what could it be? One simple (and probably too logical) way to find out is to look out the window. However, what if there’s nothing to see but the signal is still there? Any video available? Nope. Any eyewitnesses with better viewpoints? Nope. That’s the situation we have right now in Washington DC (don’t worry — the government isn’t involved … yet) where a meteor monitor known as livemeteors.com is located and has posted a mysterious signal it picked up on December 2nd that has generated much speculation but no definitive answer. (The signal can be be heard at the site and here).
There seems to be little information on livemeteors.com. According to its website, it uses a VHS receiver connected to a TV antenna pointed at a TV tower in Canada, possibly in Timmons, Ontario. That describes a typical hobbyist system for listening to and recording meteor echoes. According to meteorscan.com, meteors burning up in the atmosphere leave an ionization trail which reflects radio waves. The reflected waves shift in frequency according to the speed of the meteor and those shifts can be translated into an audio ping and displayed on 3D graphics.