Spring continues for Houston, and what was that bright light in the sky on Monday evening?

Summary: With clear skies, there was a strange sight in the sky over Houston on Monday shortly after sunset. We explain what that was. Beyond this briefly unidentified flying object, we’ve got a full week of spring-like weather before warming conditions this weekend and early next week. Rain chances are low throughout the period.

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… ?

A little before 8:30 pm CT on Monday evening a bright light appeared in the skies over Houston. It did not streak like a meteor, but rather moved overheard and then appeared to emit a puff of gas before dimming and then fading away. I did not see it myself, but received several questions about it in the immediate aftermath. So was this a UFO?

For a short time it was unidentified. However, I soon pieced together that it was related to a Falcon 9 launch that had taken place from Cape Canaveral, Florida, earlier in the evening. As you may know, the rocket’s first stage launches, and when its fuel is mostly spent, the second stage of the rocket separates. This first stage then makes a controlled descent to the ocean and then lands on a drone ship. So this was not the first stage over Texas, but rather the second stage.

After separation this upper stage had continued on to orbit and then released its payload of about two dozen Starlink internet satellites. This second stage, however, is not left to zip around orbit indefinitely. Rather it makes a ‘deorbit burn’ to return into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. In this case, Texans—for it was visible as far away as Austin, as seen above—were seeing this deorbit burn. The remnants of the second stage then splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean several minutes later. This has happened before over Texas, but typically it occurs further south and west of Houston and is not visible here.


The clear skies that allowed Houston to see the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage on Monday night will carry over into today. We’ll see mostly sunny skies and another clear night. Highs today will reach the low 70s, with modest northerly winds of about 10 mph. Temperatures tonight should be a touch cooler than Monday night, dropping down to nearly 50 degrees.

Tuesday will probably be the coolest night of the week for most of Houston. (Weather Bell)


This day will be a bit more interesting, weather-wise. An upper-level disturbance will provide a bit of lift in the atmosphere, and this will allow for the formation of some clouds during the daytime hours. There is even the slight chance, perhaps 10 percent, of a light shower during the late afternoon or early evening. Highs, otherwise, will be in the low 70s. Skies should clear out again overnight, again allowing lows to drop to nearly 50 degrees overnight.


A sunny and pleasant day, with highs in the mid-70s. Winds will be light and the air dry, but there will be a subtle shift as winds turn to come from the south. Lows on Thursday night will be warmer, likely in the upper 50s in Houston.


Another day with mostly sunny skies, probably. Highs will be a bit warmer, in the upper 70s, and a touch more humidity in the air with the modest southerly flow. Winds likely will be a bit more pronounced, at 15 mph with higher gusts.

Saturday and Sunday

The weekend will be warmer, with highs around 80 degrees on Saturday, and the low 80s on Sunday. We’ll also see a mix of sunshine and clouds, with Saturday more likely to have sunshine than Sunday. Also, by Sunday, the air will be fairly humid with dewpoints in the 60s. Still, all of this is relative. Compared to July, this weekend will be quite mild. Both days should see a fairly pronounced southerly wind.

Monday’s highs may feel like we’re on the precipice of summer in Houston. (Weather Bell)

Next week

Monday and possibly Tuesday look rather warm, in the upper 80s, before a front arrives to cool us down some. At this point overall rain chances with the front look fairly low. After the front we should see some days in the 70s and nights in the 50s, maybe.

Eclipse weather

Over at The Eyewall, Matt has a very preliminary look at the cloud cover forecast for the solar eclipse on April 8, across the United States. Short answer: It’s complicated. And we don’t know much yet.

3 thoughts on “Spring continues for Houston, and what was that bright light in the sky on Monday evening?”

  1. My kids and I spotted it in that precise moment you describe as a “puff”. Well, in fact, I spotted it a couple of seconds before as a a bright light behind the clouds… Initially, I thought it was the full moon but it wasn’t at the right position on the sky. We were driving back from Missouri City to Sugar Land on HW6 and we were stopped at the traffic light with Lexington Blvd, waiting to turn left. Then we saw the light on our left, like “way above” Sugar Land airport, coming in opposite direction to us. Then the puff, very neat and super big, then the light dimming behind the clouds.. then gone. We also spotted a small plane, small Cesna I guess, approaching from the East at a much lower altitude..

    • also in Sugar Land… walking the dog yesterday evening and noticed what I thought was a plane with its lights obscured in haze (so appearing fuzzy). As it moved closer (it appeared to be west/southwest of Sugar Land) in an easterly direction, I saw the puff of smoke, and then the light gradually decline in brightness.

      Very odd. I thought it might be a test of some sort of equipment or a flare.

      I wondered why such a thing (or even as it was, an actual rocket booster decay) would occur over populated areas, but then I remembered I’m in Texas…

  2. Any likelihood that Houston will spy a bit of northern lights this week due to geomagnetic space storm? Saw reports that Alabama might see…

    Lots of love to you space weather boys. Thanks for great website

Comments are closed.