Reports Report 3478ak (Event 3478-2020)

This report has been linked to the following event: Event 3478-2020
Observer
NamePaul M
Experience Level4/5
RemarksAt roughly 2:02 a.m. while at the Crow's Nest Ranch on Hwy 116, 15 miles west of Hwy 17 (southwest of Ft. Davis) a group of three friends got a very good, 30 seconds or so view of the meteor event. Starting as a singular orange dot that I was perplexed about as I knew of no bright orange star in that part of the sky I watched and tried to figure out. I called to my two observing partners with a "Hey, what's that?" It was in the constellation Grus in the southeastern sky at about 5° above the horizon, in the direction of the Marfa airport. From the appearance of a singular orange dot, it slowly appeared to rise. As it rose we were all dumbstruck; perhaps is was a military flare. As it rose further it took on the apperance of an orange comet. It continued to rise and go behind a small cloud, as what looked similar to an elongated orange comet now. It was about this time, likely 10 seconds after initial observation that we realized, with a stunning shock, that this was likely a meteor. As it slowly moved across the sky it was rising to near 10° and was very bright, it passed behind a cloud and was still very visible and began to glow green. There may have been a flash behind the cloud. As it emerged it was a stunning fragmented meteor that continued north, passing just under Mars. It looked like a train of cars but might have been burning rocks instead of train cars. Fragments were shedding and flashes were popping as the colors changed and the incredible stream of debris kept rising in the sky with perhaps at least 10 major fragments, glowing bright orange sailed through the sky. Finally it passed behind a hill, at about the top of the constellation Perseus . One of my observing partners reported seeing a flash from behind the hill. At no point did we hear any sounds, but that is likely due to the fact that we were exclaiming disbelief in unprintable language. After mentally recreating the event I feel confident it lasted at least 30 seconds from start to finish. It reminded me of video footage of the Mir space station as it burned up in the atmosphere. At this point I thought maybe it was space junk or a man made object burning up upon reentry. This was the most incredible fireball meteor I have ever seen.
Location
AddressFort Davis, TX
Latitude30° 33' 5.03'' N (30.55°)
Longitude 104° 9' 17.82'' W (-104.15°)
Elevation1823.16m
Time and Duration
Local Date & Time2020-07-18 02:02 CDT
UT Date & Time2020-07-18 07:02 UT
Duration≈45s
Direction
Moving directionFrom down right to up left
Descent Angle277°
Moving
Facing azimuth145°
First azimuth145°
First elevation
Last azimuth41.4°
Last elevation10°
Brightness and color
Stellar Magnitude-6
ColorBlue, Light Green, Orange, Yellow, Light Yellow, Red, White
Concurrent Sound
ObservationNo
Remarks-
Delayed Sound
ObservationNo
Remarks-
Persistent train
ObservationYes
Duration10s
Length30°
RemarksPlease see attached report
Terminal flash
ObservationUnknown
Remarks-
Fragmentation
ObservationYes
RemarksPlease see report