Meteor showers light up US

2012-10-19 07:30

Oakland - Streaking fireballs lighting up California skies and stunning stargazers are part of a major meteor shower, and the show is just getting started, professional observers said.

The Oakland Tribune reported the exploding streaks were especially visible on Wednesday night over the San Francisco Bay area and other parts of Northern California, with reports of bright fireballs and loud booms from Santa Cruz County to Mendocino County.

"Happened to look over, saw like a crescent shaped object, reddish orange in colour," Edward Pierce told KGO-TV. "As it went away it started getting larger. Kind of expanding."

Jonathan Braidman, an astronomer at Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Centre, told the station what Pierce and others saw were small, car-sized pieces of rock and metal from the asteroid belt.

It crashed through the earth's atmosphere, "ionising and setting the air on fire in its wake", he said.

National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said that warm temperatures and cloud-free skies are making the bright lights more visible, a phenomenon that should only increase as the weekend approaches and the shower continues.

The fireballs are part of the large, fast Orionid meteor shower, so-named because it has the Orion constellation as a backdrop.

  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-10-19 07:43

    That big one in front was Santa on re-entry. All the other sparkles are the prezzies going up in flames. Sorry kiddies, not this year...

  • jonathon.shuttleworth.5 - 2012-10-19 07:56

    UFO's I tell ya!!! ;-)

  • julian.booyens - 2012-10-19 08:17

    News24 That looks like a time lapse photograph of stars and not a meteor shower

      Desilusionada - 2012-10-19 08:38

      Same thought here. They have used that photograph before. Which is sad actually.....

      LanfearM - 2012-10-19 10:28

      That's N24 for you! Always late with news, rehashing of old pics and articles, terrible grammar and spelling, articles that make the word "reporting" a joke, and so forth.

  • zarina.bellamy - 2012-10-19 08:19

    I saw the Orionids last autumn and it was extremely memorable. For anyone interested, I found some great viewing information at this site:

      LanfearM - 2012-10-19 10:28

      Thanks for the link!

  • LanfearM - 2012-10-19 10:27

    Oh wow, wish I could see it with the naked eye and not only on photos, clips, etc.!

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-19 11:26

      Well now you can, just watch the Constellation of Orion (slightly to the right of Jupiter which will be the brightest star on Sunday morning) any time from 00h00 to 04h00 on Sunday morning, you might require a pair of strong binoculars or a small telescope if you're viewing from within a city center though...

      mulzar - 2012-10-19 12:59

  • glaurens - 2012-10-19 13:25

    The beginning of the end...

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