Eyewitnesses in California reported seeing a bright fireball flying across the sky. Based on their reports, the fireball was most likely caused by a meteor that exploded in the sky after it hit Earth and entered its atmosphere.
The incident was reported by the residents through the American Meteor Society's (AMS) website. The site received a total of 127 eyewitness reports from residents in different parts of California.
Fireball Event Over California
According to the eyewitnesses, the object appeared on June 9 at around 9:00 p.m. PDT or on June 10 at 12:00 a.m. EDT. As indicated in their reports, it appeared like a bright fireball in the sky. The eyewitnesses noted that the object stayed in the sky for about 1.5 to 7.5 seconds. The magnitude of its brightness ranged from -7 to -25, making it brighter than Venus when viewed from Earth.
According to some of the reports, the fireball changed colors as it streaked in the sky. Although it was mostly white, eyewitnesses saw the object producing other colors such as blue and orange. "I've seen lots of shooting stars, meteor showers," an eyewitness named Julie F. from Topanga, California, stated in her report. "This was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen fall out of the sky- it was huge and colorful and almost looked animated. A white ball, with blue and a red-orange tail."
Meteor's Mid-Air Explosion
Some of the eyewitnesses noted that as the object moved across the sky, it produced a bright flash before disappearing. Those who saw the flash said they heard a booming noise that came from the direction of the object. Others stated that they spotted fragments from the object after it produced a bright flash.
Based on their descriptions, it is possible that the object was caused by a small meteor that collided with Earth. As it went through the planet's atmosphere, the intense heat and pressure caused it to explode in the sky, causing fragmentation and a bright flash. According to the AMS, this type of meteor fireball is referred to as a bolide. "A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation," the AMS explained.