Piece of meteorite recovered in south Texas
STARR COUNTY, Texas (Gray News) – A piece of the meteorite that entered the atmosphere over Texas last week has been recovered, according to the American Meteor Society.
Residents in southern Texas felt the ground shake and heard what sounded like an explosion as a meteor entered the atmosphere east of McAllen on Feb. 15, officials said.
The next day, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra confirmed that Houston Air Traffic control received reports of the meteor from two aircraft.
NASA wrote in a summary, experts believe the meteoroid while floating through space was originally about two feet in diameter and weighed about 1,000 pounds before most of it burned up in the atmosphere.
The meteor’s speed was about 27,000 mph, generating energy equivalent to 8 tons of TNT, NASA said. The meteor broke into fragments at an altitude of 21 miles.
“Radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event,” NASA said.
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object that originates in outer space and passes through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet.
Lightning-observing weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also detected a signal associated with the meteor.
“One of the satellite tools we use is the Geostationary Lightning Mapper & it measures lightning as observed from space. GLM detected a signal at 5:23 PM with no storms around,” the National Weather Service said.
A photo shared by the American Meteor Society shows a smooth, dark meteorite fragment recovered on private property near El Sauz, Texas, by planetary science researcher Robert Ward.
Copyright 2023 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. TMX contributed to this report.