Palm Springs
71° F
Clear
Clear

Fireball reported in Northern California hours after Russian meteorite

Published On: Feb 16 2013 05:27:16 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2013 09:54:30 PM CST
Russia meteor video
SAN FRANCISCO, Cali. -

 An expert on meteors says based on reports the light seen streaking across the Northern California sky last night was a sporadic meteor, or fireball, and not a major event.
    
Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, says "fireballs happen every single night, all around the world." The group, based in Genesee, N.Y., recorded at least 35 reports of the event.
    
Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, residents in California reported seeing the unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area.
    
Experts say smaller meteorites hit earth five to 10 times a year but chances of a large meteor passing, such as the one that streaked over Chelyabinsk, Russia, are much rarer. Another meteor landed in the Bay Area in October and caused a loud sonic boom.
    
On Friday, the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland also reported receiving calls describing the event.
    
Jonathan Braidman, an instructor at the center, says it was likely a small piece of an asteroid that "somehow" got on a collision course with the earth. Braidman calls it "a very common occurrence."