Bright Light, Loud Boom May Have Been Meteor

Astronomy experts will be searching an area near Martinez Thursday as they hunt for remnants of Wednesday night's meteor

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Oct 19, 2012  |  Updated 8:06 PM PDT
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A large bright object seen in the night sky all over the Bay Area had everyone talking. Latest details on the object in the sky and our upcoming meteor shower with Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri.

A large bright object seen in the night sky all over the Bay Area had everyone talking. Latest details on the object in the sky and our upcoming meteor shower with Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri.

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The Bay Area was buzzing Wednesday night after a bright streak moved across the sky. It was accompanied by a loud boom.

This happened around 7:40 p.m.

Early bets said it was a meteor.  The Orionids meteor shower is happening right now, but experts told NBC Bay Area that Wednesday's streak was not from Orion because the earth is shielding us from those meteors tonight. 

Whatever it was, it caught the attention of hundreds, if not thousands of people.

NASA Ames astronomer Peter Jennikens helped us get the photo at the top of this article and below. Jennikens said he will be up all night researching where the meteor may have landed. He will be out early Thursday morning looking for remnants. He's hoping to get more video from security cameras that might have been rolling when the meteor hit. 

Beppy Tobeler told us on our Facebook page that she saw it from Dublin Security Storage. "It was so low and close I thought it was someone setting off fireworks," Tobeler said. She said it sailed across the sky and broke up in several pieces.

Steve Siegel said he saw it from Sunnyvale. He described it as a super bright streak going north about 30 degrees into the sky. He said it lasted for 7 or 8 seconds.

 "I saw one giant, bright as close as a firework ball of light with long tail out visiting my parents in Forestville. One of the coolest things I've ever seen nothing at all like a shooting star," Jessica Collins said on our Facebook page. 

People at the Lick Observatory posted two raw clips of the what they said was a meteor breaking up over San Jose. It was taken by a security camera from the top of the observatory. 

 

 

 

NASA posted on a science Website earlier this week that said this is the week to watch for the Orionid meteor shower caused by Halley’s Comet.

An article on NASA Science News said that every year in mid-to-late October, the Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from Comet Halley. It promised sightings in the pre-dawn hours. Wednesday night's streak was in the evening hours. Also, usually the meteor showers related to Hailey's Comet are much smaller than what is being described. 

NASA said that the highlight of the Orionid meteor shower is coming this weekend

"We expect to see about 25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Sunday morning, Oct 21st," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

Read more about the Orionid meteor shower here.

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