There was fire in the sky over south Texas and a boom that shook residents on the ground Wednesday evening and NASA says pieces of a small meteor that was the source likely reached the ground.
When small asteroids collide with Earth’s upper atmosphere, the result is often a bright fireball visible from the ground, even in daylight. This appears to have been the case around 6 p.m. CT on Feb. 15, according to reports.
Experts based out of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston estimate the meteoroid was about two feet in diameter and weighed 1,000 pounds before beginning to burn up and break up on its trip toward the surface.
A loud boom was also reported by residents on the ground, who flooded local law enforcement and media with phone calls. The sound could be the result of a sonic boom as the meteoroid broke the sound barrier during its descent, or from the force of a violent breakup of the object.
Data from radar and other sources indicate that some small meteorites reached the ground.
“The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls,” reads the report from NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division.
Eyewitness reports of the fireball to the American Meteor Society center on McAllen, Texas and have the meteor traveling northwest along the US-Texas border.
While the object appeared as a fireball in the sky, NASA says fragments on the ground cool quickly and are not generally dangerous to the public. The space agency asks any individuals who think they may have found a meteorite to contact the Smithsonian Institution, which curates a collection of meteorites found in the US.