Feb 17, 2009 03:50 PM | 3
The brilliant fireball that lit up the Texas sky on Sunday—in daytime, no less—was caught on video as it burned its way through the atmosphere.
The origin of the flaming apparition remains unclear, but a natural meteor is the likeliest culprit. (Early reports suggesting that the fireball was falling debris from last week's satellite crash have been refuted.)
Some astronomers are estimating that a rocky object about the size of a pickup truck would produce such a flare as it burned up on entry. It's not uncommon for space rocks of that size to strike Earth's atmosphere—our planet is bombarded by car-size asteroids several times a year. But with the increasing prevalence of surveillance cameras and amateur videographers, those events are becoming better documented. In Texas the fireball was captured on camera by a professional videographer filming the Austin Marathon.
The setting of the video gives the odd impression that people are retreating from the inbound fireball—at a leisurely jog.
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