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Friday Morning Meteor May Have Been Satellite

By Emily Trube & Elizabeth Dihn, CBSDFW.com
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Did you see it? Just before 7 o’clock this morning, there was a bright flash in the sky. North Texas callers to the KRLD Listener Line described it as a “fire ball” with a long greenish-blue tail.

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People as far south as Houston and as far East as Louisiana saw it as well.

Bill Cook, the lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, says that their cameras in New Mexico picked up the flash of light at 6:43 a.m.

“That’s several hundred kilometers away,” says Cook. ” You normally don’t see a meteor that far away.”

He does believe that it was a meteor.

“It looks like what you saw was a bright meteor, also called a fire ball.”

Cook says that it appears that the meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere somewhere between Dallas and Houston. He says they have used radar to track fragments that fell to the earth north of Houston. The pieces would be very small and weigh a few ounces.

“This was probably about the size of a basketball,” says Cook. “There’s no way that it would be taking out a town or anything like that. This thing was pretty small.”

Meanwhile, Dean Conrad saw a flash of light in the sky Friday morning while driving through Grapevine along FM 4299 around 6:45am. “It took me a couple of seconds just to kind of realize what had happened,” he said.

When he did compute what he just witnessed, he hit the record button on the camera in his truck. Thankfully – because he’s a local traffic manager – his camera can record up to a minute’s worth of video before he even presses the button. Because of that, he’s able to share the rare footage.

“Today, the one this morning was so green and so bright that it had really stuck out as a unique thing,” he recalls.

Over in Denton, Alex Vergara saw the same thing. He remembers “The main spark in the beginning, it was just kind of like a really pale yellow, almost white. And the whole rest of the trail was green and blue all the way back, and there was a long tail on it.”

In fact, Alex said his buddy sitting next to him was looking down at his breakfast when the meteor shot through the sky, and missed it.

So, what was it?

The National Weather Service says it believes the bright, burning object was debris from the Russian satellite COSMOS 2251 re-entering the atmosphere.

McCartney Taylor of the Texas Meteorite Laboratory said he thinks the NWS may be correct. He guessed the meteor was some kind of “space junk” because of reports it had a green light. If it’s green, he said, that’s an indicator it may have copper, since that’s the color of the flame when copper burns.

Taylor went on to say he doubts there are any big remnants to go searching for, because no one reported hearing a sonic boom. He believes the object disintegrated before arriving on Earth.

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