Sunday, February 15, 2009

Debris from Progress falls over Texas

Blossom of Space Debris see
When Satellites Collide

John Bumgardner

KEYE TV (Austin) has received several calls of fireballs falling from the sky. Eye-witnesses say the event began around 11:00p.m. Central time.

Officials at the Austin airport say they have received several calls as well, including operators from 9-11 inquiring about the incident but they have no confirmed reports of falling debris or impact areas.

There have been no confirmed reports of anything falling according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, whatever it is may have burned up in the atmosphere.

KEYE TV viewer Steve Thornton says, “I saw something burn up in the atmosphere going east to west at 40 degrees in the horizon looking north. There was no smoke trail. It was about the size of a half moon and as bright as a welders torch” reader Max Lyon witnessed the fireball and says it was “a bright glowing egg-shape with an orange center and bluish outer aura; a silvery-white tail. The tail was intact for several seconds, then became segmented. The single object became several objects during incineration. A white trail remained visible for up to 10 minutes, slowly widening and distorting with the movement of upper level wind currents.”

The FAA office in Austin says they are certain it was not an aircraft and there are reports as far as the Fort Worth airspace being affected. According to the FAA more than likely it was debris falling from the atmosphere. They also tell KEYE TV there are reports of fallen debris on the ground north of the Austin area but that has not yet been confirmed.

Officials in Williamson County say there have been reports of the debris falling from Austin to Dallas. Public Information officer John Foster with Williamson County says he has been told it may have been pieces of a satellite that crashed last week.

Two communications satellites crashed into each other last Tuesday for the first-ever collision of two intact spacecraft in orbit some 500 miles over Siberia causing a huge debris cloud, according to NASA.

The two communication satellites consisted of a n Iridium commercial satellite launched in 1997 and a Russian satellite launched in 1993. Neither of them was working. The satellites weighed around 1,000 pounds each.

HT to via Bad Astronomer

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