NASA confirms 'fireball' lights up Texas sky
Scientists at NASA have confirmed that a ball of light seen streaking across the Texas skies Saturday was a meteor and one so bright they call it a "fireball."
Hundreds reported seeing the bright green ball of light crossing the night sky above San Antonio, the event was even captured on video by a Hewitt police dashboard camera.
The meteor is clearly visible in that and in another video posted by a YouTube user after the sighting just before 9 p.m. Saturday.
"This was definitely what we call a fireball, which by definition is a meteor brighter than the planet Venus," Dr. Bill Cooke, head of NASA's meteoroid environment office, told a news conference Sunday.
"This event was so bright that it was picked up on a NASA meteor camera in the mountains of New Mexico over 500 miles away, which makes it extremely unusual," he said, according to CNN reports of the news conference. "This was a very bright event."
The meteor appears for several seconds, one enormous ball of light followed by the streak of a tail.
It prompted hundreds of calls to local authorities including the National Weather Service.
"All of them received reports of seeing a meteor," said Trevor Boucher, meteorologist with the NWS. Officials at the weather service also shared a video of the event on their social media pages.
NASA officials studying the sighting have estimated the metoer was at least 4 feet wide and weighed more than 4,000 pounds, according to CNN. It burned five times brighter than a full moon.
Cooke told reporters it is possible that parts of the fireball hit the ground. Maverick County Sheriff's Department reported that NWS had confirmed the ground shook at around 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
"It could have been a sonic boom," Boucher said. "We won't know for sure if there was an impact on Mexico's side."
NASA is now investigating where the meteor came from. Cooke said it may be fallout from the North Taurid meteor shower, which is apparently going on right now. Other ideas suggest it was part of a piece from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, CNN said.
"A city dweller in the U.S. might expect to see events this bright once or twice per year," Cooke said in the news conference. "This one was around 8:40, so there were a lot of people outside and those events get a lot of notice, there would have been far fewer reports if it happens around 3 a.m."
Weitere Video-Aufnahme von Sheriff-Fahrzeug-Kamera: