An absolutely spectacular meteor was witnessed tearing across the California sky last night, reportedly generating a rare sonic boom in the process.
We've rounded up a handful of the best clips and images of the meteor and featured them below, and it's something you'll definitely want to see — this thing was absolutely ridiculous.
A compilation of still images, photographed by Bob Moreno, via USA Today
Photographed by Rachel Fritz and Rick Nolthenius of Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA — Via NASA
One of the best videos of the meteor was actually captured by a security camera, located somewhat ironically at the Lick Observatory in San Jose
The meteor as photographed by Wes Jones in Belmont, CA - via NASA. As Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait points out, both Altair and Vega (two of the brightest stars in the sky) can be seen in this photo, to the upper left and lower right of center, respectively. Both of them pale in comparison to the meteor, which some reports claim was as bright as the full Moon
Various outlets are reporting this meteor is a prelude to and part of this year's Orionid meteor shower, which is expected to peak this weekend. But as Plait notes, "the direction and timing for the meteor are wrong for that... so it's certainly not an Orionid," which adds to its already anomalous nature.
Having said that, this weekend's Orionid shower is expected to be gorgeous, if not exactly full of fireballs like last night's. Check back on Friday for an in-depth guide detailing when, where, and how to watch!