TEXAS - A daylight fireball over Texas on Sunday, February 15th, triggered widespread reports that debris from a recent satellite collision was falling to Earth. Those reports were premature.
Researchers have studied video of the event and concluded that the object was more likely a natural meteoroid about one meter wide traveling more than 20 km/s--much faster than orbital debris. Meteoroids hit Earth every day, and the Texas fireball was apparently one of them.
The FAA notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris after a collision Tuesday between U.S. and Russian communication satellites. The chief of Russia's Mission Control says clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth for thousands of years and threaten numerous satellites.
East Texans were also among the hundreds of others who reported seeing fiery debris falling from the sky.