A very bright meteor shot across the Southwest sky Monday night, and given the population density of, say, Southern California, a lot of people were out to see it. Among those were Dale Demi, was streaming a live video via YouNow in San Diego. One of Demi’s viewers, Faye Heddings, recorded the moment.
“Did you guys see that?” Demi asks.
Yes, we sure did.
More than 300 people in Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas reported to the American Meteor Society that they saw the fireball. Thirteen of those people heard a boom as it exploded into fragments of space rock.
The meteor was moving west to east, entering Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. Based on the estimated trajectory, it looks like the final landing place was between Escondido and Bonsall, Calif., near Interstate 15. It’s hard to tell whether there would be any measurable meteorite fragments that could be found.
A fireball is a bright meteor, defined by the American Meteor Society. It appears possible that this fireball was technically a bolide, given the reports of a “flash” or “explosion.” A bolide is a very intense, bright fireball, that explodes in a flash of light as it ends.
A meteor is what zips through the sky; meteorites are the rocks that reach the ground when it’s all over. Scientists can tell if a meteor produced meteorites based on the flash — the brighter the explosion, the larger the meteor must have been. Larger meteors have a better chance of staying somewhat intact until they reach the ground.
The society says several thousand meteors of fireball-magnitude occur each day, though the vast majority of them appear over unpopulated areas.