Fireball Seen on the North Coast

Kym Kemp / Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 @ 1:18 p.m. / News

Video from a dash camera that purports to show the meteor as seen in the Bay Area last night.

 

UPDATE 3:46 P.M.:More details on California fireball here.

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On the same day as an asteroid known as 2012 DA14 passed unusually close to Earth, Russia experienced one of the largest meteors in living memory, and the Bay Area saw a very large meteor streak across the sky.  There have also been two reports of a meteor seen on the North Coast, one near the town of Mendocino and the other in Blocksburg which is northeast of Garberville.

A Mendocino County resident who lives near Albion, Helen Williams, says that she was driving south near the town of Caspar on HWY 1 when she saw the unusual sky object.  

There were no lights on either side of me…There was one car ahead of me…A light came from the east and went out over the ocean.  It was a strange light… It was bright.  It stayed the same brightness…It was white, very white.   It was pretty fast.  It zipped along. [It was in the sky about] one and half seconds maybe.  I just saw it go across.  It was sort of ahead of me so that I had a full view of it…It is hard to say [it’s relative size.] It wasn’t tiny.  It was the size of a flare.  It didn’t leave any trail.  It was just a light that went across the sky towards the ocean.  So when I drove up to where I could see the ocean.  I thought it was a plane or something but there was nothing in the ocean that I could see…  

Kevin and Becky Collins of Blocksburg also reported seeing an unusual sky event last night. Their experience was different though. Kevin Collins describes what they saw:

We had just driven home and were relaxing.  I saw it. It took a second to process. It was a green glowing orb…lime green with white sparks. The tail was whiter.  It had quite a tail… Most shooting stars were like white streaks. This had the look of a skyrocket but it was higher and it was quieter.  From east to west across the sky. [It] covered half the sky that I have visible. This was pretty large like a baseball….The lime green ball was tossing off sparks kinda like a firework… Spectacular!

Collins says that “We are at 1500 feet and above Pratt Mt. [and] I would say[it was in the] mid to lower mid sky.”  

This isn’t the first experience for the couple of seeing such an unusual celestial object.  Collins explained, “There was another one similar in the 90’s” that his wife and he experienced at their home in Blocksburg also. However, he didn’t see the other object. He had his back to the window but his wife saw it.  She said, “The whole sky lit up” when it appeared.  That one, Collins believes, was seen as far away as Idaho.

Trail of the Russian meteor by Alex Alishevskikh/Cyberborean Chronicles via Creative Commons license (see his other photos and his description of taking this photo here.)

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Hat tip to Wired for some great information and photos about the asteroid and Russian meteor.

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