A large meteor streaked across the night sky on Wednesday night, and was seen and heard throughout the Bay Area.
Witnesses took to social media to report that they had seen a bright fireball with hues of red and orange break up overhead shortly before 8 p.m., accompanied by a loud boom.
The sound was so loud that some residents reported it shook their homes, making them think it may be an earthquake.
Jonathan Braidman, an astronomy instructor at Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center, estimated that the meteor was roughly the size of a car when it broke up over the Bay Area.
Braidman said hikers may be able to find small pieces of the meteor in the hills north of Martinez.
Meteors are hunks of rock and metal that have broken off of asteroids and fallen from space, breaking up as they enter Earth's atmosphere.
Braidman said that the meteors hit the upper layer of Earth's atmosphere traveling at 25,000 mph or more, but the atmosphere slows them down and breaks them up so that when they hit the ground they are only traveling between 200 and 400 mph.
Wednesday night's meteor appeared in the sky for about four or five seconds.
The boom that residents heard was a sonic boom, caused by the falling object traveling faster than the speed of sound, Braidman said.
Braidman said the meteor is not at all related to the Orionid meteor shower expected to peak over Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The Chabot Space and Science Center offers free public star viewings weekly on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7:30 p.m. In addition to this weekend's Orionid shower, viewers can also catch glimpses of Jupiter, the Moon and nebulae there.
The observatory is located at 10000 Skyline Blvd. in the Oakland Hills.
Sightings of Wednesday night's meteor were reported throughout the Bay Area from Santa Cruz to San Jose, Oakland, Pacifica, Daly City, Sausalito, and even in Davis.
— Bay City News Service