Temporary Setback in Hunt for 01FEB12 Texas Fireball

by on Feb.11, 2012, under Uncategorized

Thursday morning NASA released some data. Bill Cooke interpreted it, and Marc Fries (pronounced ‘freeze’) applied his darkflight model on it. But there are some problems, the flight path does not corroborate with ground truth.  There are several witnesses south of Lake Tawakani that see the fireball pass SOUTH of them.

On the flip side, the sonic boom witnesses described it as ‘faint’.  So on Thursday, we decided to withdraw from the field to go back to Austin and try to sort out facts with models. Something does not compute and we want to know why.   I predict based on the shallow angle and lessons learned in Wisconsin by fellow hunters, that the strewnfield will be very long and very low density. Perhaps 15 hours of walking per fragment found.  At this point, it will be the public that finds the fragments.  I also believe that the trajectory solution should be shifted over 50-100 km east.

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9 Comments for this entry

  • Marc Fries

    Yup – if you look at Bill Cooke’s calculated path coming in from the lower left and the strewn field I calculated, they don’t match. After I published this, I realized that there’s a bug in my strewn field model. It uses the UTM coordinate system, and it turns out that there is a ‘seam’ between UTM grids that passes north-south through Lake Tawakoni. I’ve never had to deal with this situation before and didn’t realize the bug was there. So don’t believe this model – the total distance eastward from the fireball terminus -might- be correct, but the results are definitely offset towards the north. Have a look at Bill Cooke’s strewn field model – he plots kg-mass bodies landing to the south of the lake all the way to the east on this image. I’m inclined to believe that this is the correct solution. Furthermore, calculations from multiple sources state that the bolide remained pretty well consolidated, and we’re probably looking at a single mass of 30-40 km in mass. I’d estimate that it landed somewhere to the south of that lake on the right (after passing to the south of Lake Tawakoni), perhaps as far east as Pittsburg, TX.

    Marc Fries

    • McCartney

      I’ll definately disagree with the single mass theory. Too many witnesses see sparks flying off and dropping. Those will be big stones. Plus the park host at the Lake T. State park heard 4-5 distinct pops and she was indoors. So each of those is a piece big enough and fast enough to have a distinct sonic cone. Plus add in more that are riding behind and I think we have at least 10 large stones that can make landfall. Then add in the fragments and you have lots of rock on the ground.

      As for the trajectory, I’m still gathering my ideas.

  • Tom

    I found the two large , most unusual rocks I have ever seen. I am a farmer in Northeast Texas , southwest Hopkins County Texas,which is northeast of Tawakoni and northwest of the Lake Fork Dam. I see that we are in the trajectory of the meteor of early Feb. If you are interested, I can send you photos. The rocks are glassy , not iron like and will cut your hands to pieces if you handle the rocks with no gloves on.

    • Judy

      Where do you live because? I live about 8 to 10 miles from Lake Fork and the dam is on the south
      & maybe a little east of the lake. I live on Lake Holbrook and I use to fish there alot. I’ve been looking for the past 4 days to find someone who had heard or seen this elusive thing? I would love to search some in your area. But its hard to figure
      out just where you are, but I have a good idea maybe!
      Do you mind telling me the color of the rocks.

      I just got back from Lake Tawakoni area and talked to several people. One person said she saw the fireball and saw it explode. The other one said the explosion
      awoke her and her son. He was so scared he was crying.

  • Steph

    If any of you are planning to hunt this weekend or next, I’d love to help. I live on Lake Tawakoni, saw the fireball, heard it break up. Since then I’ve been following a few meteor hunter sites trying to find out more about where it fell.

  • Judy


    My cousin and I would like you to hunt with us. We will be out Friday and Saturday hunting. We need to make contact with you some how.


  • Jason

    My grandmother lives in kaufman off of county road 142 and she seen it directly above her head. The angle of the flight path seems to be correct but needs to be further south. If you keep the angle and move it south so that it’s about middle of CR 142 I think you will have a more accurate map.

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