Just like some U.S. officials looking into the mystery, the man who captured video of an apparent fireball plunging from the sky over Texas on Sunday is perplexed about what it was.
“I don’t know what I saw in the sky. It was something burning and falling really fast,” Eddie Garcia, a videographer for News 8 Austin, told CNN Monday. “I’m looking in the viewfinder and I see, just, something flying through the sky. And it kind of looks like it could be dust, it could be something, and then I look up and, no, it was something burning in the sky,” he said. “And you know, this is something that you see at night clearly during a meteor shower or something like that, but you don’t see something like that during the day.” Authorities in Texas said there were reports of sonic booms in the area Sunday as well. Watch video of meteor-like fireball » Early speculation was that it might have been debris from two satellites — one American, one Russian — that rammed into each other in space a week ago. But the U.S. Strategic Command, which tracks satellite debris, said it was not. “There is no correlation between those reports and any of that debris from the collision,” command spokeswoman Maj. Regina Winchester told CNN Monday. So what was it “I don’t know,” she responded. “It’s possible it was some kind of natural phenomenon, maybe a meteor.” Meteor fireballs bright enough to be seen in the daytime are rare but not unheard of. Two of the most recent fell in October in the Alice Springs region of Australia and last June just west of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Texans report fireball in sky, sonic booms
Russian, U.S. satellites collide in space
The one over Australia was unique because the asteroid that caused it was discovered and tracked before it reached Earth’s atmosphere, according to the Sydney Observatory’s Web site. It says the asteroid was about 6.5 feet wide. A sonic boom also was heard in connection with that event, the Australian observatory says. On Friday, the National Weather Service reported that its office in Jackson, Kentucky, had received calls about “possible explosions” or “earthquakes” in that area. “The Federal Aviation Administration has reported to local law enforcement that these events are being caused by falling satellite debris,” the service said Friday. “These pieces of debris have been causing sonic booms, resulting in the vibrations being felt by some residents, as well as flashes of light across the sky. The cloud of debris is likely the result of the recent in-orbit collision of two satellites on Tuesday February 10, when Kosmos 2251 crashed into Iridium 33.” CNN’s call Monday to NASA to get its take on the fireball over Texas was not immediately returned. Garcia said he had been told NASA may have called him. The FAA had asked pilots Saturday to keep an eye out for “falling space debris,” warning that “a potential hazard may occur due to re-entry of satellite debris into the Earth’s atmosphere.” FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said Sunday there had been no reports of ground strikes or interference with aircraft in flight. He said the FAA had received no reports from pilots in the air of any sightings, but had gotten “numerous” calls from people on the ground in Texas, from Dallas south to Austin. As of Monday morning, Herwig said his agency had no information about what the fireball was. iReport.com: Did you see the fireball Send photos, video He also said the FAA had rescinded its warning to pilots to look out for space debris. Garcia, the videographer, was out covering a marathon race Sunday morning when he caught a glimpse of the blaze. In the video, it appear as a meteor-like white fireball blazing across the clear sky.
“I remember shooting it and wondering what I shot, and then looking around and seeing if anyone saw it with me, and everyone was just focused on that marathon that we were shooting at the time,” he told CNN Newsroom. Whatever it was, Garcia said he’s “just grateful I got a shot of it. And, hopefully, that’ll help” people figure out what it was.