Monday, February 16, 2009
Texas Fireball Update: What was it?
There are now conflicting reports that the fireball over Texas may or may not be debris from the recent satellite collision.
Here's the latest:
A mysterious fireball streaked across the Texas sky yesterday prompting a flood of calls to the emergency services and news organisations.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office sent up a helicopter to look around after witnesses said that they had seen what appeared to be falling debris from a plane crash at around 11am local time.
Sheriff's spokesman John Foster said the search was inconclusive. “We don’t doubt what people saw; but authorities found nothing."
“We don’t know what it was,” confirmed Roland Herwig, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.
"The tail was intact for several seconds, then became segmented," said Mr Lyon. "I conclude that the single object became several objects during incineration aftermath - a white tail remained visible for up to 10 minutes."
Matthew Donelon of Georgetown said he saw a very bright orangey-purple object dart across the northern sky.
"The object left a smoke trail for a distance and then went out," said Mr Donelon. "The smoke trail lasted for more than 15 minutes before it dispersed. There was no sound, so I estimate it was some distance away."
The US Strategic Command said it did not believe there was any connection with an incident last Tuesday when two satellites from the US and Russia collided, creating a cloud of space junk.
“There is no correlation between the debris from that collision and those reports of re-entry,” said Major Regina Winchester, with STRATCOM.
The FAA issued a warning to pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris after the collision between US and Russian communication satellites.
The chief of Russia’s Mission Control says clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth for thousands of years and threaten numerous satellites.
Some experts are now suggesting that the fast-moving Texas object was a meteor that burned up in the earth's atmosphere.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 8:11 AM