Many commuters were fascinated by a mysterious light that appeared on the sky on Wednesday. Those that managed to spot it offered creative descriptions. Among them some said they saw a giant key, a question mark or long trail of light.
The nearby Lick Observatory noted that the phenomenon was caused by a bolide meteor. Some believed that what they were seeing was in fact a UFO and they were closed to the truth. Until scientists managed to identify the meteor they also considered that it could have been a UFO.
An associate professor from the San Jose State University noted that bolide meteors aren’t rare but they are very unpredictable. Many similar meteors enter our atmosphere every day but the one spotted on Wednesday was rendered more visible by the setting sun.
As it traveled the burning meteor released a trail of dust. This trail was illuminated by the sun and since it was sunset the trail became unusually visible on the darkening sky. The event was shared on social media and several pictures can be found on Twitter.
The practice was welcomed by researchers who appreciated the interest shown by the general public. Deemed citizen science, the fact that ordinary people shared their views and pictures made the research easier, while also allowing more information to be collected.
The bolide meteor can be thought of like a larger version of a shooting star since both generate a high amount of light when they pass through the atmosphere. Unlike meteor showers that can be anticipated, bolide meteors appear at random, and researchers never know when another one will make an appearance.
Even researchers are fascinated when they manage to spot one as the spectacle is impressive. After it was seen, many wanted to know where the meteor landed.
Sadly, the chances of recovery are virtually zero since the meteor fell somewhere in the Ocean and tracking down the exact location would be a difficult process.
The nature of the meteor is also elusive since researchers are unable to pinpoint the source of the space rock.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.