Daytime Fireball Surprises California

According to news reports residents in California and Nevada reported hearing a sonic 

boom and seeing a bright fireball streak across the sky early Sunday morning. Experts said the sonic boom and fireball were likely caused by a meteor passing through Earth’s atmosphere. The explosive noise shook some homes and startled unsuspecting people across both states, reported the Associated Press. Calls were placed to local law enforcement agencies after the event, and several eyewitnesses initially thought they had experienced an earthquake. Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is currently analyzing data on the fireball, and made early estimates on the size of the space rock. Cooke called Sunday’s fireball a “big event,” based on the amount of energy that was released as the meteor entered the atmosphere. When would-be meteors are traveling through space, they are known as meteoroids to astronomers. When they enter Earth’s atmosphere to create fireballs, they are called meteors. Only fragments that actually reach Earth’s surface are called meteorites. Sunday’s sonic boom was so powerful it rattled houses in California and Nevada, according to news reports. Greg Giroux of June Lake, Calif., witnessed the fireball from the eastern Sierra, just west of Yosemite National Park. He said the rare daytime fireball created a spectacular light show as it passed overhead. As said Giroux this was by far the brightest fireball he have ever seen, especially since it was in full sunlight.