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Falling Space Debris or a Meteor over San Antonio?

Falling Space Debris or a Meteor over San Antonio? - April 4, 2012
, 2012 FIRE IN THE SKY: San Antonio Fireball Leaves Area Residents Wondering

meteor 150x150 Falling Space Debris or a Meteor over San Antonio? April 4, 2012

Falling Space Debris or a Meteor in the sky over San Antonio?

People who reported seeing a fiery ball of light in the cloudless noon sky Monday really did see an unidentified flying object. The flying object has not been identified.

But no one has conjectured that it held little green men with giant eyes. It was likely falling space debris or a meteor, according to the National Weather Service.

“It could definitely have caused that,” said meteorologist Pat McDonald. “It’s the only thing we can think that could have caused that.” A space rock or piece of an old satellite burning up as it hits the Earth’s atmosphere is not a rare occurrence, said Joe Wheelock, the public affairs specialist at the McDonald Observatory. “It’s not uncommon at all,” he said.

Jane Marke, an amateur astronomer, said she was at a traffic light near the airport when she saw a bright light streaking across the eastern sky at 11:49a.m. “I saw a brightness of light fall from the sky, going very fast,” Marke said. “I would say it was about 1 magnitude. That’s about as bright as you can get.” She said she believes it was a meteor, though it could have been “a piece of space junk.”

A San Antonio Express-News photographer driving between Kerrville and Comfort saw what he described as a very bright ball of light low in the sky at 11:50 a.m. Around the same time, a 911 caller reported seeing some sort of airborne fiery object that appeared to be falling near Johns Road north of Interstate 10 in Boerne. A police officer was dispatched but didn’t find anything, a department clerk said. Sheriff’s offices in Kendall County and Kerr County reported receiving no calls about the object.

The Army, which operates an ammunition storage and transfer facility at Camp Stanley in Northwest Bexar County, reported no unusual activity Monday morning. “All the ranges at Camp Stanley are closed, so we weren’t testing ammunition and we haven’t had any incident today regarding the storage and transfer facilities,” said Phil Reidinger, an Army spokesman at Fort Sam Houston.

The Air Force said none of its planes at two local bases was involved in an incident that could have caused the flash. “We don’t have anything that would generate a great flash of light in the sky,” said Dave Smith, a spokesman with the Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB. For those who missed the fireball, the good news is that the Lyrid meteor shower can be seen April 21-22. Colin McDonald, Zeke MacCormack, Sig Christenson and Scott Huddleston contributed to this report.



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