Half-ton meteor slams into south Texas

An astronomical collision

Meteoroids, or simply, meteors, are ‘rocks from space’ that form from the accumulation of matter found in space. They are usually formed by asteroids, but comets can create them too. When meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and fall quickly to the ground, as they are now bound by the rules of gravity. Every year, around 6100 meteors reach the ground, making it an uncommon, but curious occurrence. In fact, Texas gets the most meteor falls in the United States (which is not much of a surprise given its massive size) with 313 total collections recorded by 2022. It is plausible that meteors tend to fall in more arid areas, as California and New Mexico also get many meteor falls. 

Just a week ago was no exception. 

On the night of February 18, 2023, a meteor entered the atmosphere and crashed into a field near McAllen, Texas. A home security camera captured the event, with wildlife fleeing the scene as there was a sound like a sonic boom. The meteor was estimated to be nearly 1,000 pounds and measured around 2 feet wide, according to the reports. However, it did break apart when entering the atmosphere. 

According to NASA, one does not have to really worry about being struck by a flaming meteor. They cool rapidly and slow down gradually, along with the fact that they break into small fragments, called meteorites. The chance of getting struck by one is around 1 in a whopping 300,000. “The meteor seen in the skies above McAllen is a reminder of the need for NASA and other organizations to increase our understanding and protection of Earth, to combine scientific and engineering expertise to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary research for furthering our understanding of the solar system, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk,” NASA said.