Officials react to confirmed sighting of meteor in the Valley

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Hidalgo County law enforcement officials addressed Wednesday’s cosmic event of a confirmed sighting of a meteoroid flying in the Mission area and landing in an unknown location.

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RELATED: Hidalgo County sheriff: Meteor reported west of McAllen

According to Mission police Chief Cesar Torres, the Mission Police Department began receiving calls at around 5:28 p.m. from around the city regarding what they described as a loud boom.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said witnesses even stopped deputies with the sheriff’s office to report what they called “large flashes of light.”

Eventually, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed what flew over the Valley.

“Two pilots called in witnessing what they’re saying is a meteor,” Guerra said in a Thursday press conference.

According to NASA officials, the object was a meteoroid about two feet in diameter, weighing about a thousand pounds.

Radar and data indicate that meteorite did reach the ground.

According to Teviet Creighton — director of UTRGV’s center for advanced radio astronomy — meteors come through the earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis.

“When you see these big fireballs, usually that’s a meteor that’s in the process of burning up in the atmosphere,” Creighton said. “[They’re] just natural objects; asteroids, comets, or parts of comets that have broken off.”

Once the meteors hit the Earth, they become meteorites, which have much scientific value.

According to Creighton, finding one may be an out-of-this-world expectation.

“A lot of times it just blows up in the atmosphere and there’s not much to find,” Creighton said.

Sheriff Guerra is warning the public that if they do come across debris from the meteorite, to not touch it.

Instead, contact UTRGV’s department of physics and astronomy at 956-665-3136.


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