A San Diego woman was broadcasting live when all of the sudden a meteor came shooting down behind her.
Hundreds of people saw a flash of green briefly light up Monday’s night sky.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the American Meteor Society received more than 400 reports from Arizona, southern California, Nevada and New Mexico that a meteor hurtled past them. Most reports came from California.
Dale Ruetz was in Chula Vista, Calif., broadcasting a live video on YOUNOW when it flew right by her screen. She panicked.
“The only thing I thought was it was coming (directly) at me,” she said in a Twitter message. “I didn’t know what I thought it was, I was trying to rationalize my panic.”
What did it look like?
Viewers began posting videos of a green light streaking across the sky and flashing before leaving their frame of vision. Eight AMS reports came from Arizona. Several of them said it exploded and one described it “as bright as a welder’s flare” on the website.
Caroline Keith emailed The Arizona Republic saying she saw what appeared to be a meteor while driving west on Ray Road around 8:50 p.m. Monday. However, “it could have just been a really bright downward sloping firework.”
Greg Freeman said he was driving down Grand Avenue in the Northwest Valley when he saw a “multicolored streak eventually turning a bright green” then head toward the ground for about three to four seconds before turning yellow.
“It lit up the sky multiple times,” he said in a Twitter message.
Only seven people have told AMS they heard a noise as or after the object passed by, none of whom were from Arizona. Neither Ruetz nor Freeman said they heard any sound.
A map on the AMS website shows that the meteor came into view near Escondido, Calif., and traveled southwest until it “ended its visible flight” over the Pacific Ocean. Multiple videos are attached on the website right below the map.
AMS representative Mike Hankey said it’s likely that some small fragments fell into the water.
What was it?
There are different types of meteors that could have been spotted, according to AMS.
One is a fireball, which the AMS says has a similar brightness as Venus to the human eye from Earth. Another is a bolide, which is a type of fireball.
Hankey said that, based on videos he has seen, he thinks it was a bolide.
“A bolide is larger than a normal fireball,” he said in an email. “(It) blows up and breaks apart at its end.”
These can appear in all different colors. The FAQ says green ones contain nickel, which Hankey said is not rare for asteroids.
“A lot of large fireballs are reported green,” he said.
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