Great balls of fire! Fireball illuminates night sky above Texas

People on social media reported seeing the fireball in North Texas down to Houston

DALLAS - A very bright meteor or possibly a piece of space junk burned up and could be seen over much of Texas Sunday night.


There were several reports on social media from people seeing the fireball in North Texas down to Houston, according to a report from FOX 4 Dallas.

Armando Pena Junior captured a video of it around 10:30 p.m. in Hutto, north of Austin. Another person reported it shook a house south of Austin.

The object was either part of the Delta Aquariid meteor shower that peaks this week or space junk, like part of an old satellite, falling back to Earth.

What is a 'fireball'?

The American Meteor Society said it received more than 200 reports and videos showing the fireball that streaked across the sky on Sunday night.

The AMS said most of the reports came from the Lone Star State, but several other reports were received from Oklahoma and Louisiana.

So, what exactly is a "fireball"?

The AMS describes fireballs as meteors that are larger and brighter than normal. Most meteors are only the size of pebbles or small rocks, but a meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to a full moon in a matter of seconds.

"This particular fireball was probably the size of a small car prior to entering the atmosphere," the AMS said on its website. "The reason for the brightness is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere."

The Perseid meteor shower has also arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.

The celestial show returns every year between July and August, offering sky-gazers a chance to enjoy the last weeks of the sweltering season outside, looking up at the night sky.

According to NASA, the Perseids are most active from July 17 to Aug. 24. The peak this year, when the most meteors will shoot across the sky, is expected to be Aug. 11-13.

Depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you could spot up to 40 meteors per hour during the peak.


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