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See the Daytime Fireball That Streaked Across the Texas Sky Last Week

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"little piece of the sun falling with a big torch behind it"

(Photo via WOIA)

Spring is often known for April showers but rain isn't the only thing falling from the sky. Late March and early April are known for an uptick of meteor showers as well.

Just last week, a rare, daytime fireball at least a yard in diameter streaked across the Texas sky to the amazement of thousands of residents.

Watch this local news report on it:

Three decades of observation data from NASA shows the increase of meteors -- 10 to 30 percent more prevalent -- in the spring and scientists are unsure why.

"There are two peaks: one around February and the other at the end of March and early April," Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, said to Life's Little Mysteries. "And this remains a mystery."

Cooke also said the fireballs in the spring are often "big slow movers," which is why they are truly impressive like the one seen on April 2 above San Antonio, Texas.

It's a mystery Cooke and his team are trying to solve. Life's Little Mysteries reports that the researchers have set up "smart meteor cameras" to triangulate where the fireballs are entering Earth's atmosphere from space. With 1,800 recorded so far, Cooke hypothesizes that they are coming from asteroids -- rather than comets. The data being collected will be used to reveal a pattern for why spring plays host to so many fireballs or support that there is more "asteroidal material" during this season.

In addition, the project hopes to develop methods for tracing the fireball's fall to obtain meteorites on the ground and assess what they are made of and potentially the asteroid from which they came.

As for the Texas fireball, WOAI reports resident John Haley describing it as like a "little piece of the sun falling with a big torch behind it."

[H/T Huffington Post]

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