Scientists Think Bright Display in Southwest U.S. Caused by Meteor

According to Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL a meteor is the most probable cause of a bright, colorful fireball witnessed by people in a wide swath of the southwestern United States. Residents from Southern California to Arizona to Las Vegas reported seeing a streak of light move rapidly from west to east around 7:45 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, September 14. Scientists are virtually certain this bright  display was caused by a meteor, probably the size of a   baseball  or basketball, that burned up in Earth’s atmosphere. It appeared much larger because of the heated and glowing atmosphere along its path. Many eyewitnesses described seeing brilliant colors of blue, green and orange.

Blue or green colors indicate the meteor contained nickel or magnesium, while orange would mean the object was traveling relatively slowly for a meteor, but still moving a few miles per second.