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“After the rain, earth hardens.”
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Satellite Debris Is Beginning to Make People More Suspicious Than Necessary
By Irene Collins
00:45, February 17th 2009
According to the U.S. government, there's no relation between the fireballs that streaked the Texas skies Sunday and the collision of two satellites over Siberia last week. The item, accompanied by a loud boom, was seen by Austin, Texas, marathon participants and crowds Sunday as it moved across the sky.
"It was something burning and falling really fast. Where I was at the time, yeah, I remember shooting it and wondering what I shot and then looking around and seeing if anyone saw it with me, and everyone was just focused on that marathon that we were shooting at the time," said Eddie Garcia, photographer.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the fireball was a natural phenomenon - not flying space junk - and a North Texas astronomer said more specifically that it was probably a truck-sized meteor with the consistency of concrete.
“There is no correlation between the debris from that collision and those reports of re-entry,” said Major Regina Winchester, with STRATCOM. Moreover on Saturday, the FAA issued a notice for pilots to be on the lookout for falling space debris. Late Sunday, however, the notice was removed and being rewritten to attribute the concern to a "natural source."
The FAA said people who find pieces of debris should not touch them and should contact law enforcement. Local military officials will collect and analyze the debris to confirm what it is, the FAA said. The debris field could stretch from New Mexico to Houston.
Meteor fireballs bright enough to be seen in the daytime are rare but not unheard of. Two of the most recent fell in October in the Alice Springs region of Australia and last June just west of Salt Lake City, Utah. A sonic boom also was heard in connection with that event, the Australian observatory says.
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