Residents across Southern California can breathe a sigh of relief: what you saw last night really was a meteor, not a plane crashing.
The meteor was spotted in the night sky across the southern portion of the state, including Los Angeles and San Diego, and even some reports from as far east as Phoenix.
There were concerns in Hesperia, California, a town about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles, that the streak may have been a crashing plane, but those worries were put to rest.
Meteors are small pieces of dust, rock and ice that slam into Earth’s atmosphere. Because of the intense friction produced during those collisions, the meteor leaves a streak of light in its wake.
Small bits of ice and dust vaporize before ever reaching Earth’s surface, but larger space rocks can sometimes produce a fragment that makes it all the way to the planet. These leftover rocks are known as meteorites.
According to the American Meteor Society, a New York-based nonprofit science society focused on meteoric astronomy, there were at least 260 reports to their website across the Southwest U.S. about the meteor.
Perhaps the best view was captured by a woman, Dale Demi, who was broadcasting live on the service YouNow when the meteor streaked behind her.
Other than a few scares like the one above, there have been no reported injuries or damaged associated with the meteor.
Additional reporting by Miriam Kramer