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NASA analyzes meteoroid's loud arrival near McAllen

A rare image of a meteor over the earth photographed from the ISS in 2011
Ron Garan
A rare image of a meteor over the earth photographed from the ISS in 2011

NASA confirmed in a statement that a meteoroid fell near McAllen on Wednesday, and it provided more details about the event.

The agency said the object weighed about 1,000 pounds and was about two feet in diameter, based on preliminary information.

Radar and other data indicated that the meteoroid broke apart in the atmosphere, and some fragments reached the ground.

"The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with naturally occurring meteorite falls," the agency said.

Houston Air Traffic Control received reports from two aircraft that saw a meteorite west of McAllen.

One piece of evidence came from the National Weather Service in Brownsville. It used info from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, a piece of imaging software from two offive geostationary satellites owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The imaging is used to track lightning activity that is sometimes not visible on radar images.

 "What we found was just enough evidence that indicated that the Lightning Mapper was showing some of these optical frequencies across parts of western Hidalgo, Northeastern Star and Southern Brooks County," said Meteorologist Barry Goldsmith.

Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres said at a press conference Thursday that the department received calls regarding a loud explosion that shook houses.

There have been no reports of injuries or property damage.

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Jerry Clayton can be reached at jerry@tpr.org or on Twitter at @jerryclayton.