Leonid Meteor Shower Shines Over Texoma - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Leonid Meteor Shower Shines Over Texoma


TEXOMA--- A number of people across Texoma were stunned this weekend when they saw something dramatic in the sky.

A lot of people did not know what it was and one person even called to report what they thought was a plane plummeting from the sky. They said they could see it from where they were, which was off of State Highway 289 and Preston Forest.

Several emergency responders from several different departments went to the scene, but it turned out that a plane never crashed.

"As the evening went on, the FAA was not reporting a downed aircraft," Durant Police Department Captain Mike Woodruff said. "We were not receiving any beacon signals of distress. None of our emergency responders, including the aircraft that we had in the air doing flyovers, could determine or verify that a plane was down. That's when James Dalton with the emergency management said that it might be a meteor shower."

What the caller and others likely saw Saturday night was a meteor burning up in the atmosphere. According to the weather service out of Norman, the Leonid meteor shower is creating a light show right now that can seen across the country. Meteor showers are sparked when our planet passes through trails of debris left behind by passing comets.

"The Leonid meteor shower occurs every year," KTEN Chief Meteorologist Alan Mitchell said. "It usually is one of the more active ones and Saturday night actually happened to be the peak of it."

"Usually the particles that we see as a shooting star, or a falling star, are generally no larger than a grain of sand," Mitchell said. "However, with speeds reaching up to 158,000 miles an hour and heat building up, the particles can become over 3,000 degrees, so they look white hot. Very rarely do they make it to earth."

Which is a good thing, since space rocks large enough to survive the trip through Earth's atmosphere have done major damage in the past and scientists say they could again.