Eideard

North Texans sighting fireballs speeding toward Earth

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Fiery debris from a falling satellite burned through the Texas sky Sunday morning, alarming some and enchanting others but resulting in no apparent injury or damage.

From Dallas to Austin and beyond, sightings were reported of a red and orange fireball with a small black center speeding toward Earth before burning out in a trail of lingering white smoke.

Roland Herwig, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s southwest division, confirmed that the fireball was probably superheated debris from a broken satellite falling to earth.

The FAA could not directly link the debris to last week’s reported collision of Russian and U.S. communications satellites, however.

“It’s yet to be proved it’s those satellites,” Herwig said.

It’s also unclear exactly how many pieces of debris tumbled toward Texas or whether any more are on the way.

The potential danger from satellite debris did prompt the FAA on Saturday to warn pilots nationwide to be aware of the hazard and to immediately report any sightings.

One of my “big blog”-fellow editors is a Texas-based astronomer. He emailed me, saying, “Visual only, Friday night. Glowing tail, slow moving. Pretty neat.”

UPDATE: FAA says it was a meteor. For whatever that’s worth.

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Written by Ed Campbell

February 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

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