Thursday 2 March 2017

Fireball over northern Texas.

The American Meteor Society has received reports of a bright fireball meteor being seen over parts of the the southwest United States slightly before 8.00 pm on Sunday 26 February local time (slightly before 3.00 am on Monday 27 February GMT). The majority of the reports came from the northern Texas, but sightings were also reported from Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma. A fireball is defined as a meteor (shooting star) brighter than the planet Venus. These are typically caused by pieces of rock burning up in the atmosphere, but can be the result of man-made space-junk burning up on re-entry.

The 26 February 2017 Texas Fireball seen from Hawley in Texas. Kevin Palivec/American Meteor Society.

Objects of this size probably enter the Earth's atmosphere several times a year, though unless they do so over populated areas they are unlikely to be noticed. They are officially described as fireballs if they produce a light brighter than the planet Venus. It is possible that this object will have produced meteorites that reached the surface (an object visible in the sky is a meteor, a rock that falls from the sky and can be physically held and examined is a meteorite).

Witness reports can help astronomers to understand these events. If you witnessed this fireball you can report it to the American Meteor Society here

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