East Texans React To Nighttime Fireball - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/8/04-Tyler

East Texans React To Nighttime Fireball

It's the talk of East Texas Thursday. What was that light in the sky Wednesday night?

It appears East Texas was right in the middle of a meteor shower. People reported seeing a bright object in the skies from Wichita Falls, to Little Rock, to Houston. That includes all of East Texas.

A police car dashboard camera in Dallas, Texas caught the light show on camera. The bright ball with the trailing tail can be clearly seen in the video.

Heather Williams in Kilgore says she saw the light show in the front yard of her Kilgore home.  "In the middle it was a big bright light and on the side it had two blue streaks," says Williams.  Her husband, Billy Williams decided to take a look at the night sky for himself.  "It was pretty big, had some good fire behind it. So, we stayed out another 45 minutes and that was about it."

In an e-mail to KLTV, (one of many), Rainey Riley from the Joinerville area wrote, "Last night about 9:05 as my children and I started up our driveway we saw a flash of light in the clear sky. The light was so bright I had to stop the truck. We looked up and saw a falling ball of pink fire right above our house. It was huge. It appeared to have fallen right behind our house. We got spotlights and looked in the fields and we saw nothing. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. My children and I were somewhat afraid."

The National Weather Service says it received numerous reports of a fireball in the sky around 9:30 PM Central Time Thursday night.

The International Meteor Organization says the Pegasid meteor shower is occuring through the middle part of the month, with a peak coming on Friday night.

Tom Hooten, Director of the Hudnal Planetariam at TJC says the meteor didn't have to be very large to create big spark.  Holding up a brown, jagged rock, around 3" in diameter, Hooten explains, "Say, this size right here. This is an actual meteorite that was found in Aftica. Something like this would put on a great light show much like what we saw last night."

Hooten says based on the large area which saw the fireball, the object, what ever it was, was very high up in the atmosphere. He also says the larger the object, the longer, and brighter it burns.

Stephen Parr, Reporting.

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