Meteor creates night sky spectacle
by Glenn Moore
Oct 18, 2012 | 3734 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A meteor cut a spectacular path across Tracy’s western sky as it burned during its fall into the Earth’s atmosphere Wednesday, Oct. 17.

Confirmed a meteor by the Lick Observatory in San Jose on Thursday, the meteor was sighted about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in the sky west of Tracy as a bright green fireball moving from the south to the north.

A line of burning debris could be seen falling from the meteor’s path.

The meteor was visible for nearly 10 seconds before the last burning objects disappeared into the night sky.

Astronomer Dr. Paul Lynam, resident at the observatory atop Mount Hamilton, said he did not witness the meteor, but some of his colleagues did.

“It is a tens of years experience to have seen,” Lynam said.

Looking at security camera footage, Lynam said the meteor appeared very bright, saying it would have cast a shadow on the ground.

The view from the observatory’s security camera was partially obscured, but Lynam estimated the meteor’s path across the sky could have been visible from 5 to 25 seconds.

Tracy police dispatch supervisor Robert Perez said the local department received two calls on the nonemergency line reporting the bright light in the sky.

Within hours of the meteor arcing through the sky, more people from as far south as Clovis and as far north as Chico logged their meteor sighting at http://lunarmeteoritehunters.blogspot.com/, a meteor reporting website.

Although the annual Orionids Meteor shower is scheduled to peak this weekend, Lynam said he didn’t think Wednesday’s meteor sighting was related.

“It’s probably not associated with the Orionids Meteor shower — it was moving too slow,” he said.

Lynam said meteors in the Orionids shower move much faster than Wednesday’s meteor, and that the fireball was seen in a part of the sky not typically associated with the Orionids shower.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

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