Giant Fireball Explodes Over Texas in Incredible Footage

A blazing meteor lit up skies over Texas this past weekend, surprising residents.

The event has been documented by the American Meteor Society (AMS) after it received hundreds of reports about the meteor on Sunday night from eyewitnesses.

The object has been dubbed a 'fireball'—an astronomical term for an exceptionally bright meteor that can be seen over a wide area.

Meteor
A stock illustration depicts a fiery meteor against a backdrop of stars. Exceptionally bright meteors are known as fireballs, and they can light up the sky. layritten/Getty

As of Thursday, AMS said it had logged a total of 588 reports from the night, with the fireball estimated to have passed overhead at roughly 11:30 p.m. ET.

"It was just a very bright green flash," one eyewitness in Yoakum recalled in their report. "Like someone with a green camera flash was taking a picture in front of me but bigger."

Another eyewitness based in Austin wrote: "Lots of fragments like an entry breakup, then a bright white flash that lasted a third of a second and was a uniformly circular bright white explosion."

Some people reported hearing several booming sounds associated with the fireball, either during the sighting or slightly afterwards.

One person in Bastrop said they heard "several booms like bombs." Another eyewitness described hearing a "loud low pitch echoing boom from the direction it was heading, about four minutes after sighting."

Some eyewitnesses also submitted video footage of the event from security cameras at their property. In one clip captured by a doorbell camera at a property in College Station, the fireball suddenly appears in the sky, shining brightly for a few seconds before flashing and disappearing from sight behind some houses.

Others uploaded clips to Twitter, including one sighting from the dashcam of a car.

According to astronomy website EarthSky, computer-generated trajectory estimates show that the fireball entered the atmosphere over Cistern, Texas, and ended its flight a few miles west of Austin.

In general, meteors are space rocks that enter Earth's atmosphere at great speeds. The air resistance causes such high temperatures that the space rocks begin to glow and sometimes explode.

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) states that objects causing fireball events can be more than one meter in size. According to EarthSky, Sunday's fireball was probably the size of a small car.

It's possible that some fragments of the fireball may have survived and hit the ground, though it's unclear where they might be if this is the case.

Fireballs are not rare events—AMS normally receives about 100 reports every day, per EarthSky. However, it's rare for people to see them since they are normally short-lived and can also occur during the day or over cloudy skies.