Daytime meteor shower wows many across the Bay Area

The San Francisco Local

BERKELEY, Calif. — A dramatic fireball and sonic boom were seen and heard from the Bay Area to Nevada's Great Basin Sunday.

View a video report.

A dramatic daytime meteor, visible for hundreds of miles across California and Nevada swept across the sky around 8 a.m. Sunday.

At the Chabot Observatory, astronomers said the fireball seen in the sky coincided with the Lyrid meteor shower, an annual display created when earth passes through the dust stream of the comet Thatcher. Though, Sunday morning's event may have been unrelated.

"My guess is it's just a little asteroid that fell from the sky," said Conrad Jung, an astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center.

The piece of space rock that fell couldn't have been much bigger than a few small space rocks combine,  roughly the size of a small boulder, Conrad said.

"Had this object been seen at night, it would have lit up the sky," Conrad said. "It would have been incredibly bright. You could have seen shadows cast on the ground."

The Chabot Observatory is generally the perfect place to see falling stars on a clear night, but Sunday morning's display only required that people simply gaze up at the sky.

Martin Costello saw the fiery display while driving in Fremont.

"(There was a) big white streak, coming down, it was really long, on the horizon, moving really fast," Costello said.

People in the mountains even felt a sonic boom as the particle entered earth's atmosphere.

Brian Campbell of Placerville said he looked straight up through the Sierras and it looked like the sun was coming at him.

"(It felt like) a really low rumble, that got louder and louder like a rocket taking off  and it finally started shaking the house and everything," Campbell said.

Astronomers said the earth is entering the season for meteor showers.