The Chabot Space and Science Center says that a mysterious streak of light that lit up Bay Area skies early Friday morning may have been a meteor.
Bay Area residents – and even some in Southern California and Oregon – reported seeing the phenomena, but nobody could figure out what it was.
Comet? White glow? Strange streak in the sky? Bright orange light? Aliens? UFO? – the rumors kept flying in.
Chabot Space Center astronomer Ben Burress told NBC Bay Area that there were a total of three events Thursday and Friday where people reported seeing something in the sky. Two of the events occurred Thursday at 9 and 11 p.m. and Friday's event occurred around 6 a.m., Burress said.
"There was an event today at 6 a.m. – it was reported from Los Angeles all the way up to Oregon," Burress said. "It was a fireball of some kind. Nobody knows whether it was a meteor or meteorite or a piece of reentering space junk. Reports are all fresh right now – somebody was in their bedroom and the light was bright enough to notice it."
Sky observers reported seeing something moving through the atmosphere on the American Meteor Society eyewitness page. The organization is currently investigating 42 reports.
"My aunt, mom and I were amazed. That was the most spectacular sighting I have seen and I am 46," wrote John R. of Los Angeles.
"This was one of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed," wrote Harry T. from San Diego. "It was so bright and it streaked for a great distance across the sky. It was the largest fireball or meteor that I have ever seen."
A video taken by Anthony Fox while he was letting his dogs out in the backyard around 6:20 a.m. in Rancho Cordova, east of Sacramento, shows a white ball of light moving across the sky.
"At first I thought: 'is that a rocket?'" he said. "Went for good 15 to 20 seconds. I thought it was pretty cool ... cool and a little eerie at the same time not knowing what it was. I've never seen anything quite like that."
"It looked like a wispy comet-like object, but it was definitely not a comet," Burress said after looking at the video.
Burress said a meteorite is seen fairly rarely. "Most of the time people don't see them as they fall down on the earth or ocean," he said. "There have been a number of sightings in the last few months."
Scott Courtright was in his backyard in Antioch and managed to take some pictures of the object before it disappeared.
"After the initial bright point went away there was an area that was illuminated and blue green," he said. "It was moving slow but it was moving."
Ross O'Donovan tweeted at 6:08 a.m. that he was on his way to LAX When he thought he saw a comet burning up in the atmosphere. Another Twitter user responded, saying she saw "something streak across" her windshield around the same time
Twitter user @BayNewsVideo reported seeing "a bright orange light UFO" over Baypoint around 6:03 a.m. "Anybody else see the same? UFO," he tweeted.
On the way to LAX and me an Holly think we saw a comet burning up I'm the atmosphere. Really weird bright light with a cool white glow. — Ross O'Donovan (@RubberNinja) September 12, 2014
Then it vanished — Ross O'Donovan (@RubberNinja) September 12, 2014
Saw a bright orange light UFO over Baypoint Ca flying N by NE at around 6:03. Anybody else see the same? UFO — Bay News Video (@BayNewsVideo) September 12, 2014