Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meteor Seen Across Southern California

Palomar Observatory. Credit: Scott Kardel

People from San Diego to Riverside to Anaheim to Los Angeles reported seeing a bright flash in the sky late Monday evening, a short-lived thrill that was likely caused by a meteor. Holly Lindquist told U-T San Diego on Twitter, "From Hemet it looked like it was headed east. Bright white ball with molten red edges, flashing brighter as it neared the horizon." Lindquist said she saw the meteor at about 11:10 p.m., while she was driving.

Teresa Hall-Wells of San Diego told us online, " Saw a huge fireball cross the horizon while driving down the freeway. It was like being in a science fiction movie. I hope someone got it on video."

Such sightings are not common. People regularly see a flash produced by a meteor, a small piece of matter that turns bright when it strike's the atmosphere, typically in the region 50 to 75 miles above Earth. The American Meteor Society says, "Meteoroids are the smallest members of the solar system, ranging in size from large fragments of asteroids or comets, to extremely small micrometeoroids. Whenever a meteoroid plows into the Earth’s atmosphere, it will create a brief flash of moving light in the sky, called a meteor. Meteors were once thought to be a purely atmospheric phenomena, and the study of these and other atmospheric effects, especially weather, spawned the science of meteorology. It was not until the mid-1800′s that the extra-terrestrial nature of meteors was widely recognized. If remnants of the parent meteoroid survive the trip through the atmosphere to reach the ground, then these remnants are called meteorites."

Other sightings reported on Twitter:

Michael Thiebaud, "I saw it here in Beaumont. Super huge. Biggest I've ever seen."

usmarine323: "At exactly 11:10 pm I was driving on 78E near 15 Junction. LARGEST #shootingstar I've ever seen."

SandyCheeks_12: "What i just saw in the sky right now was amazing! It was like a shooting star but super bright and big

BlazingLily: "Just watched a huge meteor break into three smaller pieces before disappearing. That was awesome!!"

Jürg Lehni: "I thought it looked green, flashing white."

brentonstrine 54:" Saw a huge blue and green #meteor headed for Burbank or Glendale just after 11pm tonight while headed home on the 101. Looked REALLY close!"

Tony Chavez said on Twitter, "I saw the meteor too on freeway near South El Monte!"

guyspeakwhat: "Am I crazy or was that blue-green streak I just saw across the #LosAngeles sky a #METEOR???"

IamRayRod: "Holy huge #meteor"

karinasaysss: "I just saw a shooting star &then i looked at my phone it was 11:11 p.m."

Credit: utsandiego.com

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