Science

Brilliant fireball explodes high in Texas sky before dawn (video)

About 600 people saw a bright fireball crack over Texas on Sunday evening (July 24), and some even heard its sonic boom, indicating that pieces of rock could reach the Earth.

Observers in the area, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and the Lone Star State, saw the bright meteor around 3:26 am local time Sunday, according to reports from the American Meteor Society (AMS).

“The initial computer-generated trajectory indicates that this fireball entered the atmosphere over Cistern, Texas, and ended just a few miles west of Austin,” writes EarthSky. (will open in a new tab) developments.

“Several witnesses near the flight path reported hearing a delayed sonic boom, indicating that meteorites from this fireball may have survived the fiery passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and have now descended to earth,” the report says.

Related: Brilliant fireball over Mississippi causes loud bangs (and satellite photos)

A fireball is seen over College Station, Texas on July 24, 2022. (Image credit: American Meteor Society/user doorbell camera)

The fireball was largely filmed by automatic doorbell cameras uploaded to the AMS website. Information about the potential size of the space rock, its origin, path, and what size meteorites were not available. (While a meteor is a bright flash of light, known as a shooting star, when a piece of space rock, a meteoroid, enters Earth’s atmosphere, a meteorite is a fragment that can be found on the planet’s surface after passing through. Most meteors do not produce any meteorites. and burn out completely.

As a general rule, meteor hunters must obtain permission from any landowners before embarking on a search. Meteorites tend to be dark, jagged, and dense. If you spot a potential meteorite, place it in a plastic bag or wrap it in aluminum foil to keep the space rock from getting dirty. Then show it to your local science museum or institution for evaluation.

Meteorites are of interest to scientists because they help shed light on the chemical composition of asteroids and comets that roam the solar system, almost unchanged since their formation. Most meteoroids are completely harmless as the body burns up to a large extent in the atmosphere, although a small fraction of meteoroids may survive the passage and cause damage to the earth.

NASA tracks much larger bodies through its Planetary Defense Coordination Office and its network of telescopes. Small fireballs like this are in most cases too small for this network. No immediate huge threats to our planet have been discovered, but scientists continue to search just in case.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.

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