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Fireball over Texas – Feb 15th 2009..what was it?

Posted by dandare on February 17, 2009

texas-fireball-2-feb-15th-2009On feb 15th (Sunday morning) in Texas, there were sightings reported of a fireball coming down around Austin. Many believed, that what they had seen, was the result of a collision of the Russian (military) and American satellites on february 10th 2009; this being the resulting debris, coming back down to earth.

The latest update from News Channel 25 “ Fiery debris not from sateillite ” (first posted on the 15th, but seems to get regularly updated ) mentions

The U.S. Strategic Command now says there’s no relation between the collision of two satellites over Siberia last week and the weekend shower of fireballs over Texas……[.]….. An expert at NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office says some of the only known footage of the debris, taken by a news photographer during the Austin marathon, looks just like a natural meteor hitting Earth’s atmosphere at about 12.5 miles per second ” (extracts from article).

At KOAA.com “ Mysterious fire balls fall from the sky ” (posted 16th feb 2009), it says

Numerous people across Texas reported seeing fireballs in the air Sunday morning. People in Richardson, Plano, Burleson and near Corsicana reported seeing the streaks in the skies ” (extract from article).

At Spaceweather.com it has on its main page, Fireball mania…

What you just saw was not satellite debris. The high speed of the fireball in the News 8 video is typical of a natural meteoroid hitting Earth’s atmosphere at tens of km/s. Orbital debris, on the other hand, should crawl across the sky at a fraction of that speed. Astronomer Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office has reviewed the video and confirms “it’s a natural meteor, definitely.” According to his analysis, the source of the fireball was a meter-class asteroid traveling at about 20 km/s ” (extract from article).

What it also mentions was that on feb 13th, there was a fireball seen in both Central Kentucky, and Italy (being slightly earlier).

What do you believe it was? is it still a UFO (well so far it is, as its still unidentified), but possibly a meteorite?

I will update later with more reference links (i’m afraid, just not enough time to blog them now; thought it was important to send out the info however), and any new information if it materializes ……

UPDATE : 17th February 2009

The BBC has a short video on this here . It is the news 8 film from Austin (only 12 seconds)…. however, what is also interesting is the meteor streak over Sweden (link below this video).


TIME (february 15th 2009) ” Is satellite debris falling on Texas ?

Chron.com (february 16th 2009) ” Texas fireball probably a meteor, not UFO ?

CNN.com (february 16th 2009) “ Texas report fireball in sky, sonic booms

Sonic booms and at least one fireball in the sky were reported in Texas on Sunday, less than a week after two satellites collided in space and a day after the Federal Aviation Administration asked U.S. pilots to watch for “falling space debris,” authorities said…[.]…Lisa Block, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said her agency had received calls from residents surprised by sonic booms about 11 a.m. She said calls came from an area from Dallas to Houston ” (extracts from article).

News 8 Austin ” Meteorite hunter suspects meteor landed near Waco ” (February 17th 2009)

texas-meteoritefeb09Taylor, a meteorite hunter, is trying to figure out what’s left of the truck sized space rock astronomers say caused the fireball seen over Austin Sunday morning ” (extract from article). The video to this can be seen here .

For questions about fireballs please go to this article from the American Meteorite Society; also the International Meteor Organisation here .

There is also a log from february 2009, at AMS Fireball sighting log, 2009 including the 15th.

2 Responses to “Fireball over Texas – Feb 15th 2009..what was it?”

  1. jamie said


    My name is Jamie and I’m based in the north east England, I’m not sure who I need to notify about this so called fire balls that are a result of the 2 satellites colliding but at about 16:30hrs yesterday evening while having my tea I noticed a bright light in the sky out over the north sea. It closely resembled an air craft coming in to land with landing lights on, However after that it the turned bright white in the centre and orange on the outer rim, then vanished and then re-appeared before making a “C” shape in the sky and vanishing all together something like this

    O <vanishing
    O <starting

    No Idea what it was, and thought I was seeing things until the wife read an article about the satellites (that I knew nothing about) thought I would let someone know that if it was part of the satellites then it has been spotted off the North east of England over the north sea

  2. Brandon said

    I too saw the exact same phenomenon you just mentioned.

    I was sitting on my porch when I noticed a fireball in the sky about 16:20 hours Central United States time. At first I thought it was a plane on fire, due to the redness and orange of the sight. My father was next to me and I spoke silently to myself but accidentally loud enough ” What the hell is that?” which at that moment my dad turned and also saw the “fireball” soaring through the sky. At that moment, I asked my father if it was a plane on fire to which he said it wasn’t, and I decided to call my mother who was in the next room and Who was a flight attendant for over 10 years, to see if she could identify it. She came out and immediately exclaimed ” A UFO” and told us that it wasn’t a plane on fire. I ran inside and grabbed a rifle scope and zoomed in on the object to which all I could see was orange and red but it was not on fire. It was just the color. As it soared through the sky, it suddenly just vanished as if it was never there all in about 10 seconds from the time I took the scope down. The whole scene only took about 10 minutes up until the point it vanished.

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