Meteors light up Northern California skies

11:16 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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CARMICHAEL, CA - The Orionid Meteor Shower kicked off with a bright light show in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley area Wednesday night.

Across Northern California, people reported seeing almost the same thing. According to people who posted comments on LunarMeteoriteHunters Blog, the bright light lasted in the sky between 5 to 10 seconds.

"It was beautifully amazing," News10 Facebook Fan MaryCatherine Vosburg said. "I was on I-5 and it lit up the night sky! I made a wish! It was huge and it darted toward earth with colors of light: I saw blue, purple and yellow light as it burned across the sky!"

FACEBOOK: Fans describe what they saw

"Sighted on the Westside," Gayle Marci-Lavelle tweeted. "It went across the sky like a silent firework then appeared to break up. It appeared green in color."

Orionids appear every year around this time when the Earth orbits through a part of space that is full of debris from Halley's Comet, NASA spokesperson Janet Anderson said.

"Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, the source of the Orionids," NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office's Bill Cooke explained. "Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour."

The shower is expected to peak around Oct. 20 to Oct. 21. Usually the shower produces 20 or so meteors per hour, Anderson said.

NASA will be holding a web chat on Saturday, Oct. 20 a few minutes before 8 p.m. PDT to answer questions about the Orionids.

NASA CHAT: Learn more

Did you see the meteor? Send us a picture at

YouTube: Police dash cam video of meteor:

YouTube: Lick Observatory security camera video - 1

YouTube: Lick Observatory security camera video - 2


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