A lot of people in the East Bay saw a big, bright ball of light streak across the sky last night, and it appears to have been a big chunk of meteor. This happened around 7:40 p.m. and the fireball was much larger than your standard shooting star, and not likely part of the Orionid meteor shower expected this weekend, which comes from remnants from Halley's Comet.
The thing traveled almost slowly across the sky, lasting about five seconds according to some accounts, and whatever was left of it may have landed near Martinez, says an astronomer who spoke to NBC Bay Area. It was so bright in part because the moon was down to a tiny crescent, only about 10% visible, making the meteor all the more visible. The boom that some reported hearing, which shook some East Bay homes, was likely a sonic boom, with the meteor traveling at upwards of 25,000 miles per hour. While events like this do occur a few times a year, it is rare to see them so brightly, and it's a right-place-at-the-right-time kind of thing. (It is the second one this year in the local area, however, if you recall that major meteor strike up near Tahoe in April.)
Jonathan Braidman from the Chabot Space and Science Center tells CBS that hikers may now be able to find bits of meteorite in the hills north of Martinez.
And you can expect more, though smaller, shooting stars to grace our skies this weekend as the Orionid shower peaks, which it's set to do in the early morning hours on Sunday.
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