Brilliant fireball over Texas on July 24

Brilliant fireball! Over 200 reports

The American Meteor Society (AMS) has received over 200 reports and several videos displaying a fireball event at 10:52 p.m. CDT on Sunday, July 24, 2022. AMS #2022-4290 event was mainly seen from Texas. And we also received reports from Oklahoma and Louisiana. The initial computer-generated trajectory shows that this fireball entered the atmosphere over Cistern, Texas, and its flight ended just a few miles west of Austin. Several witnesses near the flight path reported hearing a delayed sonic boom, indicating that meteorites from this fireball might have survived the fiery passage through Earth’s atmosphere, and are now down on the ground.

This particular fireball was probably the size of a small car prior to entering the atmosphere. But any meteorites found will probably be just small fragments of the original fireball. Still, although we haven’t heard yet of any ongoing searches, it’s likely people will search for these fragments.

If you witnessed this event and/or if you have a video or a photo of this event, please
Submit an Official Fireball Report Your report can help those searching for the meteorites!

Fireballs occur every day over all parts of the Earth. The American Meteor Society normally receives about 100 reports each day. It is rare, though, for an individual to see more than one or two per lifetime, as these short-lived events also occur during the day, on a cloudy night, or over a remote area where no one sees it.

Brilliant fireball: Map with little people, each representing a fireball report.
AMS Fireball event #2022-4290 over Texas, U.S., at 10:25 pm CDT (3:25 UTC) on Sunday, July 24, 2022.

How to see a fireball

A fireball is a meteor that is larger and brighter than normal. Most meteors are only the size of tiny pebbles. A meteor the size of a softball can produce light equivalent to the full moon for a short instant. The reason for the brightness is the extreme velocity at which these objects strike the atmosphere. Even the slowest meteors are still traveling at 10 miles per second (16 km/s), which is much faster than any round fired from a firearm.

Observing one of the major annual meteor showers can increase your chance of seeing another one of these bright meteors. The next major annual meteor shower will occur on the night of August 12-13, 2022, when the Perseid meteor shower reaches maximum activity. Although a full moon will obscure the fainter meteors in this shower, the light of any incoming fireballs would be able to pierce through the moonlight.

Perseid meteor shower: All you need to know in 2022

If you want to learn more about fireballs, read the American Meteor Society’s Fireball FAQ.

Map showing fireball reports, with an arrow pointing to Austin.
The fireball entered the atmosphere over Cistern, Texas, and its flight ended just a few miles west of Austin. Image via AMS.

More videos and image of the July 24 fireball

Suburban house with lit-up night sky with bright white streak.
July 24, 2022, fireball as captured by Juliah Bandy’s Ring security camera in Carthage, Texas. Image via Juliah Bandy/ Doug Warner/ KSLA News 12.

Bottom line: A brilliant fireball lit up the skies over Texas on the evening of July 24, 2022. If you witnessed this fireball the AMS invites you to fill out a fireball report as soon as possible. Your input may help us find meteorites from this object!

July 25, 2022

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Robert Lunsford

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