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Texas Meteor Cloud

Nature volume 155, page 43 (13 January 1945) | Download Citation



OSCAR E. MONNIG has described the effects of a fireball observed on May 20 over Texas (Sky and Telescope, September). It travelled from west to east and left a meteor cloud; photographs, some of which are reproduced, were taken by different people. Unlike some fireballs, this one did not leave a persistent train; two minutes after Ray Dudley, in the middle of Pampa, had taken a photograph, he was able to secure another one which showed a great change, not only in the brilliance of the meteor cloud, but also in the amount of diffusion that had taken place. The sun had set 40 minutes in some places and 20 minutes in others when it was seen, and as it was visible for a radius of more than 300 miles, it must have been a very imposing object at first. Atmospheric resistance slowed down its speed, which was almost below that of incandescence 13 miles north-west of Pampa. Attempts to find fragments of the fireball, which almost certainly disintegrated (though there is no record of a report due to disintegration such as is often heard with fireballs) have so far been unsuccessful, but it is hoped that some of the debris will be obtained. A provisional path has been computed, and it appears that it became visible at a height of 56 miles, the dense cloud being formed at a height of 23 miles (this latter is considered very accurate), and its direction of flight was at an angle of about 45° to the horizon.

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