NASA confirmed a 1,000-pound fireball was seen over Mission, Texas, on Wednesday after residents reported loud bangs and shaking homes.
The space administration presented its findings on Thursday after officials warned locals not to touch any debris from potential meteorites.
4Residents of Mission, Texas shared a photo of what they believe might be the meteorite that was reported near the US-Mexico border on WednesdayCredit: Facebook4Texas law enforcement is warning the public not to touch possible debris should they come across anyCredit: ValleyCentral 44A map shows where residents reported sightings of the possible meteorite on Wednesday nightAccording to Nasa, preliminary information led its experts to believe the “meteoroid” – which becomes a meteor when it burns up in the earth’s atmosphere and a meteorite when it hits the ground – was about two feet in diameter and weighed roughly 1,000 pounds.
They went onto confirm “radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event.”
Mission Police in South Texas was flooded with calls just before 5.30pm on Wednesday, according to Police Chief Cesar Torres.
Officials in the Rio Grande Valley held a press conference the following day, updating the public after a flurry of sightings.
Residents reported a loud boom and said that their houses were shaking, prompting panic around the city.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said Houston Air Traffic Control received two reports from aircraft of a meteorite sighting west of McAllen.
A point of impact is unknown, Guerra said.
There have been no reports of damage.
Alton Police Chief Jonathan Flores said that they felt the blast in his area but were unsure what caused it.
“I do know that it was widespread. There are multiple cities receiving the same call,” Flores said.
Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres said: “We have not located a scene. We don’t even know if there is a scene.”
Residents who come across potential debris from the meteorite should call police immediately.
The National Weather Service also provided an update on the situation, sharing an image from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper which picked up a signal on Wednesday.
“For those asking what these images mean: It means there was a flash in the atmosphere that was bright enough for our NOAA satellites to detect at or around 5.23 pm today,” the NWS stated.
The signal was observed from space despite there being no storms in the area.
The American Meteor Society received five reports about “fireball” sightings across Texas.
Two reports came in from near Mission, Texas, while two people reported seeing it in San Antonio and a fifth reported a sighting in Uvalde.
“Small trail that disappeared when the fireball burned out,” the San Antonio witness wrote.
“It seemed to go in a trajectory that was towards Lytle TX,” a second person in San Antonio wrote.
The witness in Uvalde said it looked like “an emergency flare” while a Mission resident reported a trail of smoke across the sky.
The origin of the mystery object remains unknown, however, meteorites are not generally a threat to the public, NASA said on Thursday.
A meteor becomes a meteorite when it makes contact with the earth’s surface.
A Mission resident took to Facebook after Wednesday’s incident to share that they felt a “rumble or explosion.”
Another Texan claimed on Facebook that “everyone heard the loud noise and houses shake,” while observing the incident.
One Twitter user posted about the meteorite, asking in disbelief: “Is this real?”
Someone else wrote: “So today I heard this loud bang and my house shook. Turned out to be a meteorite.”
4Houston Air Traffic Control received multiple reports of an alleged meteorite sightingCredit: National Weather Service
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk