San Francisco Meteor Sighting Image Credit: YouTube
Shortly after a meteor crashed into central Russia, a second was reportedly spotted in skies over the Bay Area (from Santa Clara to Fairfield) and also over the Central Valley cities of Fresno and Stockton, in San Francisco, USA.
Witnesses say they caught a glimpse of a fast-flying object, headed westward, at 8pm PST (4am GMT) on Friday night. The skies above Earth have been busy with activity over the past few days; Friday night was also when the 150ft wide asteroid 2012 DA14 flew by less than 30,000km away from the planet's surface.
A CBC News report said that at its closest, asteroid 2012 DA14 was nearer to us than man-made satellites in geosynchronous orbits and it was only one-tenth the distance to the Moon.
The meteor sighting in San Francisco has received considerable media attention because of the tragic impact of the Russian meteor, which left over 1,000 people injured. However, Jonathan Braidman, an astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, said approximately 15,000 tons of space debris enter the Earth's atmosphere every year and that normally the debris breaks up and disintegrates before it reaches the surface. He also said that calculations showed the meteors over the Bay Area and Russia moved in different trajectories, meaning their points of origins were different.
Mike Hankey, operations manager, for the American Meteor Society, told AP that the recent sighting was a sporadic one (a fireball) and not an alarming one.
"Fireballs happen every single night, all around the world," he said, adding, "The media attention on the Russian thing got people's attention, so they're more likely to notice things in the sky."