Mysterious object streaks across night sky
July 13, 2014 at 2:13 a.m.
Updated July 14, 2014 at 2:14 a.m.
James Chinowith wanted to take in the beauty of the supermoon Saturday night, so he headed over to the hike and bike trail near his home on Seguin Avenue to catch a glance.
What he saw, however, was unexpected.
A bright ball of light with streaks behind it flew across the horizon of the sky, leaving the 51-year-old Victoria man questioning his eyes.
"At first, I thought it was a plane taking off from the airport," he said. "But it was too fast to be a plane."
The same bright, white light was seen about 9 p.m. across the Crossroads and Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, leaving many wondering what they had just seen.
"I absolutely know it was a meteor," Chinowith, 51, said, explaining he'd seen a similar light before.
The only difference, he said, was that this one burned a lot longer.
"You could have made a wish on it at least five or six times," he said.
Officials with the National Weather Service out of Corpus Christi said they received a couple calls Saturday night about the light but were unsure what it was.
Mike Prendergast, a storm chaser out of Dallas with allaccessweather.com, said the light was a meteor.
Such as with a meteor, he said, the light begins white and later develops a bluish color.
"When they burn at different temperatures," he said, "it burns as different colors."
In his five years storm chasing, he's seen a meteor before, Prendergast said, but this one appeared to be traveling much faster than a typical one. Once he saw a smaller piece of it break away, it was more than clear that it was, in fact, a meteor.
A few skeptics, however, said the beam of light bore no resemblance to a meteor because it was traveling across the horizon instead of falling from the sky.
"I've seen shooting stars, and this was not like a shooting star," Jason Wright, 47, of Austin, said. "I've never seen anything like this - that was a UFO."
Seth Scotting, 28, of Cuero, said he first thought it was a meteor but changed his mind when he saw how long it was going.
"It freaked me out," he said. "It must have been in the sky a good 10 seconds. I thought, 'Please don't tell me that was a UFO.' I'm not one to believe in that, but for a split second I was like, 'maybe it was.'
According to news website ABC.net.au, a similar light was spotted Thursday in southern areas of Australia. A curator with the Melbourne Planetarium explained that light as "space junk."
Whatever the light in the Texas skies was, Elizabeth Novak, 33, of Inez, said it was perfect, neat and unlike anything she's ever seen.
"It didn't sizzle out like a shooting star," she said. "It split in two and went all the way across the sky - it was pretty."