An explosion so powerful it rocked people's homes.
Lone Fireball State
Unwitting civilians in southern Texas were in for a loud surprise when a sizable meteor exploded in the sky.
The sonic space rock flew over McAllen around 6pm on Wednesday, barreling through the atmosphere as a wicked fireball bright enough to be detected by National Weather Service satellites, its Brownsville office tweeted.
NASA's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science division estimates that the meteor weighed around 1,000 pounds and spanned two feet in diameter, according to an agency release.
"The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls," NASA said.
No impact site has been found, making it unlikely that the meteorite hit the ground while intact, though NASA concluded that smaller meteorite chunks "did reach the ground from this event."
alternate angle: it shook the house a bit pic.twitter.com/vv9oR34Brw
— audeez (@disdikmark) February 16, 2023
Cause for Alarm
The epic boom that blasted across the Texan landscape caused a panic among some residents, who were probably a little too paranoid about certain mystifying objects in US airspace in recent weeks, or the government blowing them up.
Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres told reporters at a news conference that 911 dispatchers received several panicked phone calls that described hearing "explosions," and others that reported booms that shook the walls of their homes, as quoted by NBC Dallas News.
Even the local county cops were caught off guard, with Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra recalling at the conference that one of his officers almost fell over when they heard the boom during a jog.
Aside from that cheeky anecdote, Guerra also noted that he received reports from the FBI that two pilots in the area had also spotted the meteor.
It's an amusing story, but NASA, as well as local leaders, believe it to be an important reminder of the need for meteor monitoring infrastructure, and the means for disseminating information to civilians.
"The meteor seen in the skies above McAllen is a reminder of the need for NASA and other organizations to increase our understanding and protection of Earth," NASA said.
More on meteors: Incredible Videos Capture Meteor Burning Up Over European Skies