NASA: Mysterious flash likely meteor
Updated On: Dec 08 2012 09:49:47 PM CST
People across Texas -- from Dallas to Houston-- saw a mysterious flash in the sky on Friday.
Around 6:45 a.m., KPRC Local 2 received calls and Facebook comments from all over Texas regarding a flash of light in the sky.
While many people saw the flash, they didn't all see it in the same color.
"Blue green flash of light here in Montgomery," Kathy Traxler Brock posted on KPRC Local 2's Facebook page.
"There was a large flash and then looking to the north I saw an orange streak in the sky," Anthony Brearly wrote.
"Saw it in Webster ... blueish-purpleish light," Irma Gonzales said.
A hashtag, #blueflash, started trending on Twitter shortly after the flash.
"It could definitely be a fireball or a meteor," said Dr. Carolyn Sumners of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. "The most interesting thing about this whole report, this whole strange thing that happened that people saw this morning, is color. Usually, everybody agrees on the color. They're usually greenish or maybe just white. To get all of these colors, I think we're looking at not only the normal creation of color, which is getting the gasses in the atmosphere excited, causing them to glow – that's your greens -- but also we're probably looking at affects of the fog.
NASA said that one if it's meteor cameras in Mayhill, New Mexico, which is about 500 miles west of Houston, captured video of what officials suspect was a meteor.
Officials said the fact that the image was captured from so far away was unusual and testifies to the brightness of the event.
NASA officials said what fell was most likely a fragment from the asteroid belt and that preliminary results indicate that meteorites may be on the ground north of Houston.
People who live in Pine Prairie, near Huntsville in Walker County, called 911.
"Said they heard an explosion, house shook," Pine Prairie Fire Chief Mark Robinson said. "Kind of narrowed down an area from the calls that it may have impacted."
Robinson said many of those calls came from the area of Scott and Cauthen roads. KPRC Local 2 went up there and checked the area out and found a lot of logs, ponies and pasture, but no space rocks.
"It does look like a falling star -- a meteor," space expert James Oberg said.
Oberg said it's important to know how high up in the sky the suspected meteor was spotted.
"When they come in from space, they're moving at 5, 10, 20 miles a second, they hit the upper atmosphere about 80 miles or 60 miles up and that's when they explode. If they get a little lower, they leave trails, which we saw. The fact that this left a trail, it means we can start looking for even lower sightings because it might have actually survived and a piece of it may have reached the ground."
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