Texas Fireball Video Not a Meteor; It's a Contrail
In a classic case of mistaken identity, the screenshot of an eyewitness video featured in an earlier Discovery News article is not the meteor it seemed to be.
The original video of a news report shows what appears to be a bright daytime meteor burning through the atmosphere. The explanation was that it was likely one of the mysterious “spring” meteors that are known to hit our planet at this time of year. They are slow moving and may create a dazzling fireball display.
Although there have been numerous sightings on April 2 in Texas, this particular example is not a meteor. In fact, it’s not from space at all. It’s a contrail highlighted by the orange hue of sunset. Sure, it looks fiery, but its not — it’s the exhaust of a passenger jet forming a condensation trail (or “contrail”) in its wake.
This is a remarkably common news story: It’s just after sunset, someone looks towards the west and they see the short contrail of a jet plane illuminated by the sun. It looks red, like fire. They zoom in with their video camera. They don’t know what it is, thinking it’s a fireball, a meteor, or some kind of UFO, so they alert the local media. The local media published it, and occasionally the story grows.
And grow it did!